Mexico: UN World Food Programme rushes aid to flood-hit Tabasco

8 November 2007 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is rushing aid to 70,000 people affected by massive floods in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco.

A WFP truck convoy carrying enough ready-to-eat meals for those affected for over five days is on its way from WFP's emergency hub in El Salvador to Tabasco.

“We are moving as swiftly as possible to bring critical help to the people of Tabasco, who are suffering the worst crisis in their recent history,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran from Lisbon, where she is attending the European Development Days – a European Union-hosted forum on climate change.

She added that in addition to the emergency food supplies, WFP has 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.

“Just as Mexico has consistently shown its generosity over the years to other countries in their hours of need, so too must we in the international community show our solidarity with the people of Tabasco,” Ms. Sheeran said.

Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, urgent distribution of WFP high-energy biscuits continued by helicopter to some of the more than 130 isolated communities affected by the heavy rains and floods left in the wake of Tropical Storm Noel, which cut a swathe across the Caribbean region early last week. The helicopters were provided by the United States Coast Guard and the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance.

WFP said it used emergency funds to start airlifting food assistance and more is making its way by sea from an agency emergency regional logistics hub in Barbados and is due to arrive later this week.

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.

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.

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