Washington, DC | Feb. 6, 2022 – Our hearts go out to those impacted by Cyclone Batsirai, which made landfall on the east coast of Madagascar on Saturday evening with wind gusts of 146 mph. At least six people are confirmed dead and nearly 50,000 displaced to date. Whole villages are reported to be almost completely wiped out. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that as many as 150,000 could be forced to leave their homes. In a double whammy for vulnerable communities, the cyclone comes hot on the heels of Storm Ana two weeks ago, which severely damaged livelihoods, agricultural land, and key infrastructure in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.

World Food Program USA is closely monitoring the unfolding crisis and stands ready to support the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency response. In anticipation of Cyclone Batsirai, the U.N. World Food Programme pre-positioned 50 metric tons of food to quickly provide assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme is also strengthening its supply chain and IT capacities to support the government’s emergency response.

“We stand committed to the people of Madagascar and will do everything we can to reach vulnerable families in their time of need,” said Barron Segar, President and CEO of World Food Program USA. “But we can’t do it without the support of donors. Please join us as we work to provide urgent relief to storm victims.”

In Southern Africa, where livelihoods and economies are highly dependent on weather fluctuations, frequent climate extremes like cyclones are driving hunger and eroding development. With no time or means to recover, communities rely on humanitarian assistance. In Madagascar, the U.N. World Food Programme helps communities build resilience so they can withstand shocks and protect development. This work is key to mitigating the impacts of increasingly frequent and destructive storms that increase food insecurity.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

World Food Program USA, a 501©(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit wfpusa.org/mission-history.

Media Contact:
Toula Athas
Director, Communications

MANILA – Three weeks after Super Typhoon Odette (known internationally as Rai) devastated a huge swathe of the Philippines, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is warning that nutrition and food security are at risk in communities in hard-hit areas unless immediate food needs are met over the next six months.

“Super Typhoon Odette left a trail of devastation in its wake – affecting millions. Unless we act now and provide badly needed food assistance to affected families, we risk seeing a rapid rise in preventable malnutrition,” said U.N. World Food Programme Country Director and Representative Brenda Barton. 11 out of the Philippines’ 17 regions were affected.

Typhoon Odette – the strongest typhoon to strike the Philippine archipelago in 2021- made landfall nine times over an area the size of Austria over two days. Over 7 million people were affected, according to the latest government data, and the typhoon flattened houses, upended lives, and devastated farming and fishing communities which provide a major source of income and livelihoods. It caused massive electricity and telecommunications outages that are still affecting many areas.

“Advance preparations and early response by the government have been laudable. Death rates have been relatively low and emergency support is rolling out to communities. But the road to recovery is long and more support will be needed,” Barton added.

She underlined highly concerning hunger levels and malnutrition rates pre-typhoon. In some impacted areas like Caraga region, 53 percent of families were unable to afford a nutritious diet while childhood stunting was 36 percent (beyond the World Health Organization threshold, which signifies “very high public health significance.”) Stunting indicates that children are already suffering from long-term deprivation. Their nutritional status puts them greater risk for diseases and even death.

In support of government-led relief and recovery efforts, the U.N. World Food Programme requires $25.8 million to provide food assistance to 250,000 typhoon survivors, alongside emergency logistics and telecommunications support to the broader typhoon response. Of this, $20.8 million is needed for food and cash transfers over the next six months.

Initially, the U.N. World Food Programme will provide food to augment the family food packs given out by the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD), ensuring communities can meet their essential food needs while food prices remain unstable. This will be followed by cash assistance, which will help people to recover while also stimulating the economy in places where markets are already up-and-running.

So far, U.N. World Food Programme has received $4.7 million – from the Governments of Australia, Brazil, Ireland and the US, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), private sector and generous individual donations via the U.N. World Food Programme’s Share The Meal website and app. “Immediate funding is essential if we are to prevent a nutrition emergency – we were already seeing worrisome malnutrition in the affected areas,” Barton added.

When Typhoon Odette hit, the U.N. World Food Programme immediately supported the Philippine Government in its relief efforts, deploying 113 trucks to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the delivery of family food packs, hygiene kits and other non-food relief items. The U.N. World Food Programme and the Department of Information, Communication and Technology have also – for the first time – rolled out innovative mobile emergency telecommunications sets (“MOVE”) which have made it possible for emergency responders to quickly communicate and coordinate in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), women and girls become even more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, human trafficking and gender-based violence after natural calamities such as Typhoon Odette. Unconfirmed incidents of rape, domestic violence and sex in exchange for food have been reported by UNFPA field staff – a result of the desperate situation ignited by the scarcity of food and clean water, and the disruption of community support systems and protection mechanisms brought upon by Typhoon Odette.

“We’re seeing all of these challenges at the present time, and we know that they are linked. That is why we put women’s health, rights, and choices at the center of our humanitarian response to the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Odette,“ said Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Representative in the Philippines.

Note to editors:

The U.N. World Food Programme’s funding request for $25.8 million to assist 250,000 people is part of the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) plan which aims to mobilize $107.2 million to assist 530,000 people mostly in typhoon-affected areas from December 2021 to June 2022. UNICEF and the National Nutrition Council co-lead the national Nutrition Cluster comprising: national government, UN , NGO’s and CSO’s.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media, @WFP_Philippines

MANILA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing crucial emergency logistics and telecommunications support to the Government of the Philippines in its response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Rai. This is the strongest storm to hit the Philippines in 2021 and the third strongest typhoon to strike the Philippines in December since the 1950s.

“Our thoughts are with the families who have been through so much – the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and now this devastating typhoon. The U.N. World Food Programme stands firmly with those living on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Under the Government’s leadership, we will do what is needed to help communities recover from this ordeal and continue building their resilience against future shocks,” said U.N. World Food Programme Country Director Brenda Barton.

Typhoon Rai – known locally as “Odette” – made landfall in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte province, in the southeast of the Philippines, on December 16, bringing torrential rains, heavy winds, storm surges and landslides. After passing through nine central/southern regions, it exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility on December 19, leaving behind a massive trail of damage. The storm has affected the lives and livelihoods of more than 1.8 million people, including more than 600,000 people displaced from their homes and sheltering in evacuation sites.

As of December 20, many communities along the typhoon’s path remain without power or telecommunications. Transportation options are still limited, which is hampering relief efforts. The storm struck as countless Filipinos were still facing hardships linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have stretched their coping capacity to the limit.

In collaboration with the U.N. World Food Programme, the Government’s Department of Information, Communications and Technology (DICT) rapidly deployed three newly-built Mobile Operations Vehicles for Emergencies (MOVE) units from pre-positioned bases in Butuan, Davao and Tacloban to the disaster zones in Surigao City and Maasin City in Leyte. In Surigao City, the two MOVE units have become the first means to bring connectivity to the Government coordination and response since the communications infrastructure was damaged by the typhoon. The U.N. World Food Programme IT staff on the ground have also helped set up portable MOVE sets in Siargao Island and are now working on Dinagat Island.

The units are part of the six MOVE units the U.N. World Food Programme co-designed and produced with DICT with an aim to strengthen its telecommunications capacity during rapid-onset emergencies.

The U.N. World Food Programme has donated 12 portable satellite communication devices to DICT and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help the authorities coordinate their responses in remote areas, and two mobile storage units and a generator for the establishment of a logistics hub in Surigao City. The U.N. World Food Programme is also providing vital logistics support to transport family food packs to affected areas.

The U.N. World Food Programme and humanitarian partners are closely monitoring the formation of another potential storm which could further impact areas already affected by Rai. The U.N. World Food Programme is also coordinating with FAO to draft a response plan for the Food Security and Agriculture cluster.

As part of a coordinated response by UN agencies, NGOs and private sector partners, the U.N. World Food Programme will continue providing telecommunications and logistics support to the Government, and will require $310,000 for this critical support in the next two weeks.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@wfp_media@WFP_philippines, and @WFPAsiaPacific

ADDIS ABABA – The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict.

Amhara region – the frontlines of the conflict in Ethiopia – has seen the largest jump in numbers with 3.7 million people now in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Of the people across northern Ethiopia in need of assistance, more than 80 percent (7.8 million) of them are behind battle lines. It is vital that food assistance can cross battle lines to reach families in need.

  • This week the U.N. World Food Programme delivered food to over 10,000 people in the Amhara towns of Dessie and Kombolcha on behalf of the Joint Emergency Operation (JEOP). These are the first distributions to happen in these towns since they were taken over by Tigray Forces almost a month ago. The U.N. World Food Programme was only granted full access to its warehouses in the region last week.
  • The nutrition situation across north Ethiopia is deteriorating with screening data from all three regions showing malnutrition rates between 16-28 percent for children. Even more alarmingly, up to 50 percent of pregnant and breastfeeding women screened in Amhara and Tigray were also found to be malnourished.
  • To date the U.N. World Food Programme has reached more than 3.2 million people with emergency food and nutrition assistance across northern Ethiopia, including 875,000 vulnerable mothers and children with nutritionally fortified food in Tigray and Amhara.
  • United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights into Tigray resumed on Wednesday, rotating the first humanitarian workers into and out of the region since a security incident on October 22.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme needs nearly 270,000 gallons of fuel to be able to reach the 7.8 million people who are currently behind the battle lines and in urgent need of food assistance. Tigray Authorities have made fuel available for the U.N. World Food Programme in Kombolcha – with an initial batch of 195 gallons already on its way to support the scale-up of food assistance in Tigray.
  • A convoy loaded with 2,200 metric tons of lifesaving food is expected to arrive in Mekelle in the coming days, 35 trucks have arrived so far. In addition, trucks loaded with food from Kombolcha are being sent into Southern Tigray today.
  • Corridors into Tigray had been closed due to the recent Tigrayan offences on Afar and Amhara, as well as severe disruptions in clearances from Federal Government. Since mid-July, less than a third of the supplies required to meet estimated humanitarian food needs have entered the region.
  • In Tigray, in this current round of food assistance, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached 180,000 people – just 7 percent of the 2.5 million the U.N. World Food Programme needs to reach.
  • In Amhara, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached more than 220,000 people with food and nutrition assistance and is scaling up to reach 650,000 people.
  • In Afar, the U.N. World Food Programme has distributed food to 124,000 people out of its targeted 534,000.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme’s northern Ethiopia response urgently requires $316 million to deliver assistance over the next six months. Across the entire country, the U.N. World Food Programme has an unprecedented funding gap of $579 million to save and change the lives of 12 million people over the next six months.
  • Funding shortages have already forced ration cuts for some 710,000 refugees and 2.4 million hungry people in Somali region.

Photos available here.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media and @wfp_ethiopia

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Earthquake Hits Afghanistan

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