UN World Food Programme

Flood Stricken Philippines Braces For New Typhoon

Many communities around the Laguna lake, north of Manila, are still under water and can only be reached by small boats. (Copyright: WFP/Marco Frattini)

As WFP and the government push ahead with relief operations to help flood-hit communities, the northern island of Luzon is waiting to see whether a new typhoon - dubbed Lupit - will hit later this week, disrupting operations and possibly increasing the need for emergency food assistance.

ROME -- WFP is supporting Philippine government efforts to pre-position food in advance of the storm, which meteorologists now think could reach Luzon in the second part of the week. WFP helicopters are flying rice and other supplies to Benguet and Wallace in north-central Luzon.

Meteorologists said Wednesday that Lupit's advance towards the Philippines has slowed and is on a course which might hit the northern Philippines by Friday or veer toward Taiwan

Meanwhile, Luzon is still reeling from two storms in recent weeks that caused massive landslides, floods and an urgent need for food assistance. WFP, along with the government and humanitarian partners, has launched an emergency operation to provide almost 26,000 metric tons of food assistance to one million people over the next three months. (Choppers, Boats Brought In To Reach Hungry)

Truck, boat and helicopter

These operations continue with food distributions by truck, boat and helicopters and ongoing assessments of the needs in flooded areas. This work will continue as long as weather conditions allow. Typhoon Lupit is expected to make landfall in northern Luzon on Thursday, although it could start bringing bad weather to the region a day earlier.

On September 26 Tropical Storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest single day of rains in more than four decades on Manila and surrounding areas, killing 420. Typhoon Parma hit northern Luzon exactly a week later, triggering landslides and floods that left at least 438 people dead.

According to the Government, Ketsana affected 4.3 million people and Parma 3.1 million. The two storms hit the rice-growing areas of Luzon particularly hard. The government reports that 839,000 metric tons of yet-to-be-harvested paddy rice were ruined.

Rice and biscuits

WFP went straight into action after Ketsana hit the Philippines. The agency immediately procured 740 metric tons of rice locally for inclusion in family parcels distributed by the Government. It also distributed 45 metric tons of high energy biscuits.

We have bought 4,800 metric tons of rice and in cooperation with the Philippine authorities we have started distributing that rice to 960,000 people.

As well as the food distributions, WFP also have two special operations underway in the Philippines. One is supporting a logistics and telecommunications network to deal with the emergency and the other is providing air services for the entire humanitarian community through the provision of two heavy duty helicopters. 

Humour for Humanity

After hearing about tropical storm Ketsana and its effect in the Philippines, students at Harvard Kennedy School near Boston (USA) decided to raised funds for the relief effort. They organized an event and invited comedian and current Harvard student, Jimmy Tingle, to perform his stand-up "Humor for Humanity" routine. WFP’s Carmen Burbano then explained WFP’s work in the Philippines and elsewhere.

The event raised some US$ 600, which translates into enough rice to keep 33 families going for two weeks. A big thanks to the Harvard Kennedy School from WFP. Want to donate?