More than 10,000 people receive UN food rations in wake of Hurricane Dean
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing emergency daily rations to more than 10,000 people in Jamaica and Belize as they try to rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane Dean’s deadly and destructive sweep through the region earlier this month.
For the next two weeks, some 5,500 Jamaicans will receive a 450-kilocalorie ration each day of high-energy biscuits, while another 5,000 people in Belize will receive a daily ration for the next two months consisting of pulses, vegetable oil and the biscuits.
WFP said it is paying for the rations, which are expected to cost about $256,000, from its Immediate Response Account, a special revolving fund it can draw on in the immediate aftermath of emergencies when contributions from donors have not yet arrived.
Carlo Scaramella, who is managing WFP’s response to the hurricane in Belize, said the rations represent “a key first step” for people whose livelihoods have been destroyed or drastically reduced by the hurricane damage.
“While Hurricane Dean may have vanished from the front pages of the newspapers, the reality of its destructive power remains for thousands of very poor people who must begin to put their lives back together,” Mr. Scaramella said.
Media reports estimate that at least 40 people were killed across the Caribbean and Central America as Hurricane Dean crossed the region earlier this month, leaving a trail of damage to key infrastructure.
WFP said in a press release issued today from Panama City that it was able to respond quickly to the disaster because of preparations it took before the storm ensure that supplies could flow swiftly from its storage centres in El Salvador and Barbados to those affected.
The Programme’s Deputy Regional Director Gordana Jerger said the speed of the response will prove even more critical in the years ahead, “given that the region faces a future of weather-related disasters whose intensity and number may well increase.”