With the number of Ebola cases increasing rapidly, we have a crucial window of opportunity to stop the spread of this virus. Time is short, and your support is urgently needed. This emergency is extremely complex, and so is WFP’s response. We are not just reaching hungry families with critical food assistance. We are facilitating the entire humanitarian community’s Ebola response through our expertise in logistics.
WFP’s Emergency Operation is focused on supporting the medical response to the Ebola outbreak by ensuring the basic food and nutrition needs of households and communities – over 1 million people – in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. So far, WFP has delivered food for 536,000 people in the three countries. Besides food, WFP is providing crucial transport and logistics support particularly to medical partners, building Ebola treatment centers and storage hubs for the whole humanitarian community in capital cities and other areas.
WFP operations include 3 pillars of support:
1. Delivering food alongside the health response;
2. Ensuring the movement of partner staff and materials; and
3. Providing common services and infrastructure support for health partners.
The UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD), managed by WFP, prepositions stockpiles of emergency supplies for humanitarian agencies – medicine, vehicles, ready-to-eat food and tents – so they can be transported immediately and reach people in need faster. During the week of October 6th, $419,000 worth of support equipment (54 metric tons) such as generators, prefabricated structures, and tents, were delivered to all three of the affected countries by WFP. So far, UNHRD depots in Dubai (UAE), Accra (Ghana), and Las Palmas (Spain) have delivered $2.7 million worth of protective gear, emergency health kits, relief items and support equipment to the region on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO), Irish Aid, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Providing timely nutritious food to the Ebola treatment centers is crucial to help patients recover. It is also important for families who have a member affected by the virus or are living in quarantine areas, as they have lost sources of income and cannot buy food on the market. WFP has been distributing rations of rice, pulses, vegetable oil, salt, and often CSB – this multivitamin and mineral enriched porridge has been particularly welcomed in treatment centers, according to some MSF colleagues in the field, as patients are often too weak to eat a regular meal.
During this unprecedented crisis, WFP has been a crucial backbone, providing transportation expertise, logistics, the construction of infrastructure, storage, and procurement. We have staff, logisticians, engineers who can help in many ways. We approach our partners in the field and ask them: ‘What do you need? How can we be useful to you?’
In an emergency unprecedented in its type and scope, an estimated 1.3 million people are in need of food assistance in the quarantine zone covering the border area between Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. This is not just a health crisis – grave economic and social consequences could spread beyond the affected countries.
WFP requires urgent funding for its regional response operation and to provide logistical services for the entire humanitarian community’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. As WFP ramps up to help fight the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times, it now requires $179.6 million to distribute food and provide common humanitarian services until February 2015. Less than a third ($55.5 million) has been received.