MANILA -- It’s been eleven days since Typhoon Bopha (also known as “Pablo”) made landfall in the southern Philippine islands of Mindanao. Considered as the most destructive storm to hit the country this year, the damage brought about by Typhoon Bopha continues to increase, with the Philippine Government reporting 5.5 million people affected as of today (14 December).
Responding to the Philippine Government’s request for international humanitarian assistance for Typhoon Bopha coordinated by the United Nations, WFP worked quickly with the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to jointly agree on priority food needs and gaps of people in the highly-affected areas of Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, CARAGA region, and Lanao Del Sur.
WFP also immediately mobilized its existing in-country food and non-food items as part of its assistance, which included pre-positioned disaster contingency stock of over 1,000 tons of rice donated by AusAID; 145 tons of high-energy biscuits; 62 metric tons of ready-to-use supplementary food Plumpy’Doz; and other key non-food items such as mobile storage tents and generators.
Emergency Food and Nutrition Assistance
WFP has so far dispatched rice and high-energy biscuits sufficient for 350,000 individuals affected by Typhoon Bopha. Distributions are on-going. Both food items are repacked in 10 kilogram and 2 kilogram bags, respectively, and included in the DSWD relief pack, which also contains sardines, corned beef, and instant noodles.
Over the next six months, WFP will continue to work in close partnership with the DSWD and local government units to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, as well as logistics support, to 400,000 people most affected by Typhoon Bopha, particularly in the worst-hit areas of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, the CARAGA region, and Lanao del Sur.
The food aid will be delivered through a single food supply pipeline that is jointly managed by the DSWD and WFP, to ensure an efficient and coordinated response to food needs on the ground, and that no areas remain unserved or under served.
Aside from the on-going general food distribution to affected families, WFP also plans to provide nutrition support to 80,000 children through emergency school feeding activities, as well as to 60,000 pregnant and nursing mothers. These will be done in partnership with the Department of Education and Department of Health, respectively. Emergency food for work to clear debris in highly affected areas where markets are currently not functioning is also foreseen.
Providing Crucial Logistics Support
Access to some remote affected areas and storing and dispatching food and equipment to the most needy populations on a timely basis are among the major challenges currently facing Government’s relief efforts. In response to this, WFP has committed to provide logistics support to the government and the humanitarian community – through the Logistics Cluster – for the effective and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance in the affected areas.
Part of this commitment is the setting up of two humanitarian hubs in Davao Oriental and the CARAGA region, which the Government envisions will help speed up the delivery of aid to affected communities. Two additional logistics hubs are planned to help improve access to remote areas which have been cut off due to the typhoon. Aside from training of government staff, WFP will also be providing mobile storage tents, prefabricated warehouses, two generator sets, four laptops, and two printers to support the operation of the hubs.
The Way Forward
In the weeks and months ahead, WFP and partners will continue to conduct assessments to provide the government with in-depth information on community food needs in affected areas, as well as identify potential areas where food-for-work and cash-for-work activities can be introduced as part of early recovery efforts.
WFP is appealing for resources in order to sustain its commitment to the current relief operations, together with government partners. To know more about how to help, click here.