UN Food Relief Agency Provides Logistics Support to Japan Earthquake Response
The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is providing logistics support to Kumamoto prefecture in southwestern Japan as part of assistance to people affected by strong earthquakes in April.
WFP is initially deploying four experts to support needs assessments, warehouse management and the swift delivery of relief supplies to the most-affected people.
“Logistics is the backbone of any emergency response,” said Stephen Anderson, Director of the WFP Japan Office. “We are proud to do our part to help the affected people by deploying logistics expertise.”
The activities will be implemented in coordination with the Japan Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, a coordinating body supporting relief work by authorities, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
In addition, WFP is providing large mobile warehouses, including two that will be set up immediately in the severely-affected towns of Ozu and Kashima, to store relief items and as a volunteer center.
WFP launched the two-month operation estimated to cost $600,000 when the request came from the Kumamoto prefectural government on April 26, and the agency said it stands ready to expand its support if required.
Two major earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks struck Kumamoto, Oita, and surrounding areas April 14 and 16, resulting in 66 deaths and more than 190,000 evacuees, according to official figures. While local authorities are putting significant effort into the response, logistical challenges in the management of relief supplies that are pouring in have been reported, WFP noted.
This is the second time that WFP has provided assistance in Japan. In 2011, following the devastating earthquake and massive tsunami that hit the northern region of Tohoku, WFP deployed 27 staff members to organize transportation of relief items, establish logistics hubs with mobile warehouses and support relief activities of non-governmental organizations on the ground.
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