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News note

WFP and UNICEF team up to meet urgent needs of Gustav victims in Haiti

PORT AU PRINCE, 1 September 2008 – UNICEF and the World Food Programme are joining forces to bring life-saving assistance to thousands of people living in temporary shelters in Haiti after deadly Hurricane Gustav pounded the country, destroying livelihoods, homes, livestock and crops.

UNICEF and WFP – in collaboration with local authorities and partners – are providing potable water, blankets, hygiene kits, cooking sets, high-energy biscuits, rice, beans, corn-soya blend and vegetable oil initially to some 4,000 people in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and in the southern towns of Jacmel and Bainet. The hurricane forced families to take refuge in churches, schools and other public buildings.

Aid operations will expand in the coming days as needs are determined in ongoing evaluations by the Government and aid agencies. UNICEF and WFP expect to assist more people in shelters as well as people whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the hurricane. Communities in the South, Grande Anse, Nippes and West departments are likely to need aid, based on preliminary assessments.

UN aid agencies and Government officials expect that assistance will be required in the coming weeks for some 10,000 people in southern Haiti.
Between 28 and 31 August, UNICEF and WFP worked with local authorities and partners to conduct seven joint evaluations and distributions in affected zones. A joint emergency team reached Jacmel once the road from the capital was reopened, two days after the hurricane. Jacmel is in the heart of the most heavily affected region. A mountain road between Jacmel and Bainet has just been reopened; WFP trucks are transporting by road badly needed food and other humanitarian supplies.  
"It is crucial that we immediately provide life-saving assistance to ensure that women and children who are the most vulnerable to waterborne diseases receive clean water and access to sanitation," said Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF Representative in Haiti, who traveled to Jacmel on 30 August to witness the impact on the population and meet with partner aid organizations. "The collaboration between the two agencies to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Gustav shows our commitment to the people of Haiti.”
Between 29 and 31 August WFP dispatched, by road and UN helicopter, more than 50 metric tons of food as well as UNICEF hygiene kits, blankets and tents to affected areas in the south.
Five tents will be set up in area villages to provide shelter for families who lost their homes but cannot easily access existing shelters.
"We are relieved to reach these people who faced dire conditions following the hurricane," said Myrta Kaulard, WFP Representative in Haiti. "Our collaboration with UNICEF means that we can better assist people by providing them both food and other essential supplies like potable water."
On 31 August a special chartered helicopter provided by the UN stabilization force in Haiti (MINUSTAH) airlifted three metric tons of UNICEF and WFP supplies to Bainet, an isolated town in the Southeast department.

In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, UNICEF and WFP local partners were able to begin distributing food and other humanitarian supplies, which the agencies had pre-positioned for such natural disasters. On 28 August, partner organization Caritas provided life-saving supplies to the most heavily affected people in Jeremie.
In Port-au-Prince’s densely populated districts of Carrefour, Cite-Soleil and Tabarre, the hurricane drove hundreds of people from their homes. These populations suffer extreme poverty and recent food price hikes have aggravated their situation. UNICEF and WFP have ongoing programmes throughout the country to help mitigate the effects natural disasters have on an already vulnerable population.
For further information, please contact:

Annamaria Laurini, Representative, UNICEF Haiti, Tel: +509 2245-3525, Email: alaurini@unicef.org  
Louis-Etienne Vigneault-D., Communication Officer, UNICEF Haiti, Mobile: +509 3463 0056, Email: lvigneault@unicef.org
Myrta Kaulard, Representative, WFP Haiti, Tel : +509 2229 1668 to 1675, Mobile: +509 3483 5493, Email: myrta.kaulard@wfp.org
Brenda Barton, Deputy Director of Communications, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132602, Mobile: +39-3472582217 (ISDN line available), Email: brenda.barton@wfp.org
Nancy Palus, WFP Haiti, Cell: +509 3463 3547, Email: nancy.palus@wfp.org
Elio Rujano, WFP Latin America and the Caribbean, Tel:  +507 317 39 00/ 39 30, Cell: +507 6617 9261, Email: elio.rujano@wfp.org




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