TOKYO – As Japan grapples with the devastation caused by the massive earthquake and tsunami, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is on the ground setting up logistics hubs to support relief efforts led by the Japanese Government, local institutions, and aid and welfare organizations.
WFP this week started the construction of five mobile warehouses and four prefabricated offices in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, which is estimated to have the highest death toll among all affected municipalities, with 20,000 people in evacuation centres. The warehouses and offices are for use by the city and various Japanese relief organizations that are delivering supplies to people who have been adversely affected by the disaster.
“The massive tsunami destroyed public facilities that were built for disaster preparedness,” said Kenro Oshidari, WFP regional director for Asia. “By providing support such as storage warehouses for relief items and temporary offices, WFP is contributing to the relief effort led by the Japanese Government and civil society.”
WFP is also working in Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture, where the agency will support Japan Platform, a consortium of NGOs working closely together with the Japanese Government and business community. Since the earthquake struck, WFP has airlifted in 50 metric tons of high energy biscuits – from its humanitarian hub in Malaysia, following a request from Miyagi Prefecture. These biscuits are being distributed by the Japanese authorities to people in evacuation centres.
WFP is supporting the Japanese government’s disaster response by the delivery of in-kind donations received from overseas, and assessing the need for logistics hubs in some of the other areas affected by the disaster across the stricken Tohoku region.
WFP’s operation in Japan is being implemented with private sector support. Logistics giant United Parcel Service has organized customs clearance and transportation of relief items to delivery points free of charge. Nissan Motor Co. has donated two vehicles for use by WFP staff in the field.