Story by Paul Anthem (UPDATED 13 OCTOBER)
WFP has deployed logistics and assessment teams to bring much-needed relief in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. More than 470 people have died in Haiti since the hurricane struck on Tuesday 4 October.
The disaster has caused extensive flooding and mudslides, damage to crops, roads and buildings, and electricity and water shortages in both Haiti and eastern Cuba.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that 750,000 people need immediate humanitarian assistance.
A total of 100 metric tons of WFP food assistance was transported by road on Saturday 8 October, from the capital Port-au-Prince to the southwestern town of Les Cayes.
Another 14 tons of WFP food was sent to Jeremie in Grand’Anse department. The food includes rice, pulses and vegetable oil. This work is being carried out in coordination with the Government of Haiti and international agencies.
A WFP-chartered helicopter began flying humanitarian workers and relief supplies to affected areas on Friday 7 October. Six portable tent warehouses are being deployed to support relief efforts. Two of these units will be located in both Les Cayes and Jérémie.
WFP already had food in Jérémie for its school meals programme. With the permission of its donor, this was repurposed for emergency relief and is available for distribution in coming days. It is enough to feed 9,000 people for a week.
WFP is airlifting a total of 30 tons of high-energy biscuits to the Caribbean region for deployment where most needed. They are particularly useful in this kind of emergency because many families have lost their capacity to cook, as well as their livelihoods.
In Cuba, WFP is preparing an emergency operation to support government-led efforts to provide food assistance to those most affected, especially pregnant and nursing women, children under three and people aged 65 and over.
Guantanamo province was hardest hit in Cuba, particularly the areas of Baracoa, Maisi, Imias and San Antonio del Sur. Agriculture and food production in these areas were destroyed, and 90 percent of houses in the historic city of in Baracoa were damaged.
WFP is starting to provide assistance to 180,000 people in Cuba seriously affected by Matthew.