Typhoon Survivors Want Hand-Up To Rebuild Lives, Says WFP Head

TACLOBAN, Philippines--WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin met with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the hard-hit city of Tacloban on Sunday and acknowledged the strength of the local people, who are working shoulder-to-shoulder with WFP and other relief organizations to respond to the disaster.

“What I've seen in Tacloban today is the incredible resilience of the Filipino people. These people are not asking for a handout, they're asking for a hand up to rebuild their lives," Cousin said.

Cousin was speaking on the second day of a 3-day visit to the Philippines, during a visit to a local high school that has been turned into an evacuation centre. While there she helped to distribute High Energy Biscuits to children.

Food for more than three-quarters of a million people has been dispatched to communities hit by Typhoon Haiyan – and more is arriving every day.

Since 13 November, family food packs with rice for more than 760,000 people, plus High Energy Biscuits for 33,000 people have been dispatched to shelters in 24 municipalities on Leyte Island, as well as in Tacloban City.

"Some of these people have lost everything. But what they do have from WFP is access to nutritious food,” Cousin said, adding that WFP has been working “tirelessly” with its counterpart in the Philippines government -- the Department of Social Welfare and Development -- to get food out to the affected people.

“Together, we are working to overcome logistical challenges and are scaling up the number of people reached every day."

While providing emergency food supplies, WFP is also flying in important equipment such as prefabricated offices, mobile storage units, generators and radio equipment. This is vital to allow the government and humanitarian community to properly organize the relief operation.

Over the next six months, WFP plans to provide food assistance for 2.5 million people in the area hit by the typhoon.

On Monday, Cousin was scheduled to visit Roxas City on the island of Panay, located west of Leyte Island. WFP is establishing a logistics hub in Roxas, in addition to a hub on Cebu Island, and other hubs in the communities of Ormoc and Guiuan on Leyte Island.

If you want to support WFP's emergency operation in the Philippines with a donation, go to: wfp.org/typhoon