FOOD AID. A volunteer carries boxes of family food packs intended for flood-hit families in Catubig town, Northern Samar province in this Jan. 21, 2023 photo. At least 53,941 family food packs have been distributed to families in Eastern Visayas region heavily affected by recent flooding. (Photo courtesy of Department of Social Welfare and Development)

TACLOBAN CITY – A total of 53,941 family food packs (FFPs) have been distributed to families in Eastern Visayas region heavily affected by recent flooding, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported on Friday.

DSWD regional director Grace Subong said in a press briefing that around PHP27 million worth of food packs were delivered in the provinces of Northern Samar, Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte and Biliran hit by weather disturbances.

Recipient families are from the towns of Catubig, Mapanas, Palapag, Laoang, Pambujan, San Roque, Las Navas, Catarman, Lope de Vega and Silvino Lobos in Northern Samar province; Matuguinao, Gandara and Basey in Samar; and Silago, Sogod and Bontoc in Southern Leyte province.

The agency also released food packs to the towns of Cabucgayan, Kawayan and Naval in Biliran; Jipapad, Arteche, Oras, Dolores, Can-avid, Hernani and Mercedes in Eastern Samar; San Miguel, Babatngon, Santa Fe, Tanauan, Alangalang and Mahaplag in Leyte.

“We started the augmentation of FFPs supply to local governments in the last week of December. The weather has improved this week, but there are still areas with flooding incidents and we continue our support to them,” Subong added.

Each food pack, costing PHP500, contains six kilograms of rice, four cans of corned beef, two cans of tuna flakes, two cans of sardines, five sachets of coffee, and five sachets of energy drink.

Under the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, the local governments are the first responders, and the DSWD is tasked to augment the response efforts after disasters.

The DSWD has been coordinating with other members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to fast-track the distribution of assistance.

An estimated 1.03 million individuals were affected by the recent incessant rains in the region that triggered flooding in 354 areas from December 2022 to the last part of January.

PAF transports 300 food boxes from OVP

Meanwhile, the Philippine Air Force (PAF)  on Friday said it has transported 300 food boxes to Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City using one of its C-130 cargo aircraft.

Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo, PAF spokesperson, said this operation was done in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

The aircraft was from the PAF's 220th Airlift Wing.

"The aforementioned activity is in line with the OVP's mission to provide aid to  walk-in indigents who require government support," Castillo said.

She added that this is a continuous effort of the PAF to engage government and other partners in facilitating programs that respond to the needs of Filipino communities. (with report from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)