WFP strengthens emergency preparedness in Philippines' most climate-vulnerable region
PALO, LEYTE – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today handed over logistics equipment, including a reach truck and a rice milling machine, to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Warehouse at a ceremony in Palo, Leyte. This is part of WFP’s broader effort to enhance the region’s emergency preparedness capacities against climate shocks, after it was devasted by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) ten years ago.
“One of the first priorities in an emergency is to ensure that life-saving food assistance reaches the most vulnerable population, especially women and children. Similarly, investing in emergency preparedness, especially at the local government level, is just as vital for managing climate crises effectively. We are committed to enhancing these capabilities through our sustained partnership with DSWD and the Office of Civil Defense in the Philippines," said Dipayan Bhattacharyya, Country Director a.i. of WFP Philippines.
Palo, Leyte is a coastal municipality in the Eastern Visayas, one of the Philippines' most vulnerable regions to extreme weather events. In 2022, Tropical Storm Agaton (international name Megi) brought heavy rains to the region, leading to flash floods and landslides. Some of these areas were still recovering from Super Typhoon Odette (international name Rai), which also severely damaged the region in 2021.
Today’s equipment handover thanks to USAID support will help ensure that the DSWD warehouse can meet the needs of the entire Eastern Visayas Region during emergencies. This is aligned with the DSWD's aim to strengthen its subnational capacity for supply chain management and logistics, focusing on its role in stockpiling and prepositioning relief resources down to the local level.
“This handover ceremony demonstrates the strong partnership between DSWD, USAID, and the World Food Programme—a partnership that is based on many years of collaboration and commitment to help the Filipino people in the aftermath of disasters,” said Ryan Washburn, USAID Mission Director to the Philippines and Mongolia.
On 8 November 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda made landfall in the Philippines six times, becoming one of the strongest typhoons on record. WFP’s response to Yolanda, the largest in the Philippines so far, was swift and expansive, reaching over 2 million people with cash, rice and ready-to-use supplementary food assistance. Earlier this year, WFP launched the Preparedness and Response Excellence in the Philippines (PREP) Program to strengthen the government’s disaster response and management capacities with digital tools, policy advancement and climate-proof operation centres.
WFP and the DSWD formalized their partnership in 2019 to jointly implement various social protection, nutrition, food security, and emergency preparedness and response initiatives. Last year, WFP mobilized over 850 trucks to transport 950,000 DSWD family food packs, equivalent to 14 million meals. These trucks were also used to transport 11,800 MT of food and non-food supplies in various areas affected by emergencies.
In the same ceremony in Palo today, WFP launched Palothe book PREP ka na ba?, which includes30 lessons for improved emergency preparedness after the Super Typhoon Yolanda response.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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