The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is expanding its relief operations across hurricane-devastated Haiti, supplying enough stocks of food to reach 500,000 people as the Caribbean country tries to recover from the recent series of deadly storms.
An estimated 300,000 residents of the northern city of Gonaïves, hit hardest by the floods that followed the hurricanes, have already received WFP rations, the agency said in a news update released today.
WFP said its staff are now able to access Gonaïves – which had been isolated by the high water levels – by road from the national capital, Port-au-Prince, and are delivering an average of 90 tons a day.
The agency will be establishing a relief operations base in Gonaïves to continue its work in the region with its humanitarian partners, including some non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
WFP is at work across the impoverished nation, distributing nearly 2800 tons of rice, beans, cooking oil, fresh water and other supplies since the hurricanes struck between mid-August and early September.
But WFP said many towns remain isolated or difficult to reach for aid workers, including Les Tuburon in the south and Anse Rouge, Passe-Catabois and Mole Saint Nicola in the northwest.
In partnership with the NGO known as Terre des Hommes, WFP has flown a medical team to Les Tuburon, where a provisional assessment report shows dramatically increased levels of malnutrition.
In Anse Rouge, local fishermen have been unable to work as many lost their boats and nets when the storms struck. Agricultural plantations and salt production infrastructure have also been damaged, while many residents now need assistance because of rising food prices in the local market.
WFP is also continuing aid distribution in Jacmel, helping to feed more than 40,000 people in the south-eastern town.