Tuesday, November 20, 2007

UN brings relief to the Caribbean

Tropical Storm Noel has become the deadliest Caribbean storm this year, killing over 100 and displacing hundreds of thousands in the region. Then United Nations has been quick to respond to these people in need. The World Food Programme (WFP) is rushing aid to 70,000 people affected by massive floods in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco, and has also deployed a team specializing in logistics and emergency assessment. The agency will be working closely with other UN agencies to support the Government following the flooding, which has affected up to 1 million people.

Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, urgent distribution of WFP high-energy biscuits made its way to more than 130 isolated communities affected by the heavy rains and floods. The helicopters were provided by the United States Coast Guard and the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance.

In Haiti, where Tropical Storm Noel also caused extensive damage, WFP is providing food to shelters and continuing its assessment of needs and food distributions where access is possible. So far, WFP emergency teams have been able to assist 19,000 of the worst affected.

UN affiliates are making available funds for the rebuilding process. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has launched a joint appeal for $14 million to help those affected by the floods in the Dominican Republic over the next six months. The World Bank is making available up to $60 million for the Dominican Republic and Haiti by redirecting funds from existing projects. It is also preparing an emergency loan of up to $100 million for the Dominican Republic.

We get by with a little help from our friends.