ROME -- As the first images were broadcasted from a shattered Philippines - flattened communities, lost homes, displaced people – our supporters responded. Days after Super Typhoon Haiyan barrelled through, the World Food Programme has received an outpouring of support from both individuals and businesses wanting to do their part to help families in need.
"While financial support in the days following an emergency is critical in terms of mobilising resources and moving food to people in need, equally if not more important is the sustained support required to rebuild lives, homes and communities," said Jay Aldous, Director of Private Sector Partnerships for WFP
WFP has been on the ground for several days providing food assistance to typhoon-devastated Filipinos and is aiming to reach 2.5 million over the next six months. Already more than 75 companies have pledged cash and in-kind support.
One of them is global food giant Yum! Brands, whose gift of US$1.5 million from its World Hunger Relief was made within hours after Typhoon Haiyan had passed and the destruction was known. "This donation at this particular moment will help avert hunger in people who have already suffered so much," said WFP Philippines Country Director Praveen Agrawal, "and it shows the important role the private sector can play in achieving zero hunger."
For its part, logistics company UPS has pledged $250,000 to WFP's role as the humanitarian community's lead logistical agency in the emergency response. The funding is earmarked for the Logistical Emergency Teams (LETs), a partnership comprising UPS, TNT, Agility and A.P. Møller-Mærsk, in which the four companies volunteer logistics staff and transport services during disasters.
“We are fortunate to have the expertise and many offers of support from these partners, who have come together to help the Filipino people,” said Thomas Thompson, head of the WFP-led logistics cluster. However, needs still exist for secure warehouse space, barges, and other services required to transport and distribute food.
Support for WFP has also come from WFP's Global Humanitarian Partners, companies who have made long-term commitments to help create a world with zero hunger. Unilever has committed $US$250,000 and MasterCard US$100,000. Both companies have launched employee giving drives that will raise resources that will be added to these initial gifts.
On the frontlines
The private sector in the Philippines is also on the frontlines, responding to the massive needs facing their country by providing complementary support to the response of the Government and WFP. The Ayala Corporation is committed to supporting affected areas, and has made a timely donation through the Ayala Foundation. KFC Philippines is contributing beyond the funds earmarked by parent company Yum!
Meanwhile Filipina actress and WFP Ambassador National Ambassador Against Hunger KC Concepcion has made a personal contribution and will be travelling to the affected areas soon. "The #haiyan (Yolanda) typhoon survivors are struggling to survive, day by day. Let's not miss out on any opportunity we have to help," tweeted Concepcion. Arnel Pineda, lead singer for rock group Journey, has also made a personal gift and is encouraging his fans to support WFP (see photo above left, with WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin).
But the needs are massive. WFP has already put a figure to them - more than US$100 million to provide emergency food, logistical and telecommunications support in the coming months. Typhoon Haiyan will fade from the media spotlight long before the emergency operation ends and Filipinos get back on their feet. WFP will look to its community of individual and corporate supporters to help do their part to bring normalcy, hope and prosperity back to the communities and families devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
If you want to find out more about how companies are helping WFP in the fight against hunger, go to: wfp.org/partners/private-sector.