The World Food Program (WFP) gets ready to respond to Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean launching two emergency operations in the east and west of the Caribbean, while the World Health Organization (WHO) prepares Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) and medical supplies for the affected countries.
During a press conference in Geneva, WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher confirmed that the organization will provide immediate assistance in the region with contingency food stocks and cash transfers.
Antigua will be WFP's main operation center for the eastern Caribbean, while the Turks and Caicos Islands will be for the western Caribbean, she said.
Today, the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD), located in Panama, will ship 40 tons of food products to Antigua.
WFP will deploy staff from its regional office in Panama and from El Salvador to Barbados and Antigua, while regional experts in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic will be sent to Antigua.
“WFP has contingency food stocks in Haiti to cover the needs of up to 150,000 people for a month and a 23-truck fleet ready for deployment in northern coastal areas of the country,” the organization stated in a press release.
WFP is working with the governments of the Dominican Republic and Cuba so as to provide technical assistance in supply chain and emergency food assistance if necessary, including 1,600 tons of food in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba to assist about 275,000 people for a month in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma.
WHO, through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), is assessing staff and medical requirements after the catastrophe said spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.
It is necessary to reinforce surveillance before diseases arise after floods and at the same time, it is necessary to replace the health workers, who have worked throughout the emergency, some without rest, continued Jasarevic.
Therefore, PAHO's Emergency Medical Teams and Regional Emergency Response Teams will be deployed and medical and other supplies have been deposited in Panama and Barbados so that they can be easily distributed.
Irma is an “extremely dangerous” category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale and it will likely remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.