Philippines

WFP and USAID start food assistance for 10,000 families affected by Typhoon Odette in Dinagat and Siargao

MANILA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance have started food assistance for families affected by Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) in Dinagat and Siargao Islands, southeast Philippines.

Thanks to a US$ 2.4 million contribution from USAID, WFP plans to distribute a total of 500 tonnes of rice rations to some 10,000 households (50,000 people) in the coming days. Each household will receive 50kgs of rice to help them with their basic food needs. The first batch of rice was distributed yesterday in Dinagat. WFP is working with local partners CARE Philippines and ACCORD Inc. to reach the families as quickly as possible.

“We thank the Government of the United States of America for this timely contribution which enables us to provide urgent food to those who need it most. Many communities who have lost everything live in remote areas, where even staples like rice are in short supply,” said Brenda Barton, WFP Philippines Representative and Country Director.

Typhoon Odette - the strongest typhoon to strike the Philippine archipelago in 2021 - made landfall nine times over an area the size of Austria in two days, leaving behind a trail of flattened homes, damaged farms, and other food sources. Approximately 8 million people - most of them work in the agriculture and fisheries sector - were affected, according to the latest government data.

Before the typhoon, the Caraga region was already reeling from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with its gross regional domestic product posting a negative performance for the first time since 1995. Government data show that more than 25 percent, or 1 out of 4 children under the age of five, were stunted in the Dinagat Islands, falling under the “high public health significance” category based on the World Health Organization threshold. In addition, WFP’s Fill the Nutrient Gap survey reveals that 53 percent of all families in Caraga could not afford a nutritious diet before Typhoon Odette.

“The Caraga region needed help then and they need it more than ever now as people rebuild their lives after surviving Typhoon Odette. Rice is an important part of diet for the Filipino people. WFP’s rice distribution is critical, especially at this time when food is scarce,” said Barton.

So far, the Government of the United States has contributed US$3.4 million in support of WFP’s response to vulnerable populations affected by Typhoon Odette, including transporting more than 200,000 family food packs, hygiene kits, and other non-food items for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In addition, USAID has assisted in the rollout of new mobile emergency telecommunications sets, called MOVE, in partnership with WFP and the Department of Information, Communication, and Technology (DICT). In the immediate aftermath of the typhoon, when power and connectivity were severed by the Typhoon Odette, the deployment of MOVE sets to typhoon-struck areas provided the first and only communication and coordination means to emergency responders.

The latest WFP assessments are pointing to a continued rise in food and logistics needs on the ground. WFP needs US$10 million in addition to the US$25 million initially requested as part of the United Nations Humanitarian Needs and Priorities launched on 24 December 2021.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are 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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