Sorsogon City, Philippines – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a new phase of programmes in Sorsogon province aimed at helping communities better prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
|Warehouse in Sorsogon|
“Vulnerability to natural disasters is one of the major challenges facing the people of Sorsogon, who are constantly exposed to natural hazards such as floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and typhoons,” said Ms. Sally Lee, former Sorsogon Governor and current Sorsogon Provincial Management Office Executive Director.
The new phase will include organizing information and education campaigns for communities on the risks they face, and the training of local government units (LGUs) to use geographic information systems to enhance preparedness and response planning.
WFP is also tapping the expertise of Bicol University, which will be working with LGUs, communities, and families to design appropriate family disaster plans and preparedness kits. Bicol University will also be introducing specialised, home-based agricultural equipment (such as a simple tunnel type structure made out of very fine mesh net and steel braces) designed to protect crops during extreme weather conditions, including strong winds, heavy rain and extreme heat.
The new phase is being rolled out in the municipalities of Juban, Irosin, Casiguran, and Sta. Magdalena, as well as the province of Sorsogon.
Sorsogon is only one of several areas covered by the WFP’s Disaster Preparedness and Response Programme, which is being implemented in close partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Interior Local Government, Office of Civil Defense, and the provincial and local governments.
“Rather than reacting post-disaster, WFP Philippines is doing its utmost based on our capacities and expertise to support the Philippine Government’s disaster preparedness and response initiatives at national and local levels. By strengthening the capacities of first responders, WFP can help save lives and protect livelihoods,” said WFP Philippines Representative and Country Director Stephen Anderson.
The WFP programme is made possible through generous support from the United States Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), which has this year given a total of US$3.75 million (approximately Php160 million), as well as from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through WFP’s global initiative on Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning, which has contributed US$1 million (approximately Php42.6 million).
During the programme’s pilot phase last year, with support from USAID/OFDA, WFP worked with the municipalities of Juban and Irosin to build an Emergency Operations Centre, upgrade three frequently-used evacuation facilities, and train LGUs and communities on how to prepare contingency plans.
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