Today, U.S. Ambassador to the Lao PDR H.E. Ms Karen B. Stewart and Representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Lao PDR Ms Eri Kudo visited flood-stricken Khammuane Province to meet with provincial officials and observe the distribution of U.S. - funded food assistance to families affected by recent severe flooding.
VIENTIANE-- The visit was joined by Mr. Prasith Dethphommatheth, Head of the National Disaster Management Office and Director General of the Social Welfare Department at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and Mr Sengthong Phakhounthong, Chairman of the Provincial Assembly in Khammuane Province. The mission travelled by boat to Phanang Village as roads to the village remain cut off by recent floods. In the community they observed the distribution of three month rations of rice and vegetable oil to villagers who lost their harvest to recent floods.
“The people of the United States are together with you in this difficult time, and we are honoured to offer this assistance so that people in Khammuane can continue to provide food for their families every day,” said Ambassador Stewart in her remarks to the villagers of Phanang.
“The people in Phanang village, like in many communities across Khammuane province, were struck by disaster not once but twice. Many lost their 2010 harvest in flash floods, and are now facing the same loss this year. The food ration we give today will ensure they can take care of their immediate food and nutrition needs of their families while they rebuild their lives”, said Ms Kudo.
Through the U.S. Embassy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided 1,460 metric tons of rice and 100 metric tons of vegetable oil – a contribution at a total value of US$1.5 million – to WFP to assist families affected by adverse weather conditions in 2010 and 2011. This contribution enables WFP to assist close to 60,000 people in provinces affected by adverse weather conditions in 2010, and in some areas also by floods in 2011. In total, WFP is assisting over 200,000 people in five provinces to ensure their food and nutrition security until the next harvest in November 2011.
In late July 2011, wide areas in central and southern Laos were hit by extensive rainfalls caused by Tropical Storm Nock-Ten. In Khammuane, 409 out of a total of 588 villages were affected by flooding. Throughout the province, 37,000 hectares of paddy fields – equivalent to 63 percent of the overall paddy area – were damaged or completely destroyed. This loss in crop was accompanied by a widespread loss of productive assets including farm implements, livestock and seeds. Many communities were already facing food shortages as they had also been affected by flash floods in 2010.
For further information:
Mike Pryor, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Vientiane, Tel: (856-21) 267 058, Pryormj@state.gov