Monday, October 24, 2011

World Food Program gives hope

MANILA – A US$750,000 cash grant from the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is powering the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) Disaster Preparedness and Response project in four of the most disaster-prone provinces of Northern Luzon.

WFP’s 12-month project in Benguet, Cagayan, Laguna and Sorsogon, which is already up and running, is being implemented in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and WFP’s local NGO partner the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

“WFP highly appreciates USAID/OFDA’s timely and generous funding for a key government priority.  This support is critically needed for a country which is so vulnerable to natural disasters,” said WFP Philippines Country Director Stephen Anderson. “The recent floods and the damage to agriculture caused by Typhoons Pedring and Quiel have highlighted once again how essential it is for us to work together to improve disaster preparedness and response.

“Fundamental to the success and sustainability of this project is the strong partnership with DSWD, DILG, OCD and the Local Government Units (LGUs) which have committed to implement small-scale community projects to help mitigate the impact of disasters,” said Anderson.

The participating LGUs have earmarked 13.9 million pesos in counterpart funds for the projects, while DSWD is providing 3.9 million pesos from its Disaster Fund.

A Capacity Needs Assessment on Disaster Preparedness and Response that WFP conducted together with the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative highlighted the need to mitigate the impact of landslides in Benguet, to improve flood control systems in Cagayan and Laguna and to strengthen the capability of communities in Sorsogon to better respond to volcanic eruptions and flooding.  The study findings are consistent with WFP’s experience of carrying out small-scale, community-driven early recovery and rehabilitation activities in partnership with DSWD in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng in late 2009 and 2010.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.  Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.

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**Press release from World Food Program

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