MANILA – The World Food Programme (WFP) has donated various equipment to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Eastern Visayas Field Office in response to the agency’s request for support in upgrading its warehouse capacity to continuously supply the requirements within the region.
The delivery of the donated disaster response equipment was part of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) on Nov. 8.
In a ceremonial handover held in Palo, Leyte on Wednesday, the DSWD and its key partners, including the WFP and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), reaffirmed collaboration in building resilience among communities and strengthening the country’s emergency preparedness and response.
“The commemoration of this significant milestone not only marks a moment of remembrance but also symbolizes our collective commitment to disaster preparedness and response excellence,” DSWD Undersecretary for Disaster Response and Management Group Diane Rose Cajipe said.
Cajipe vowed to utilize the resources efficiently to improve response and preparedness efforts in times of calamities.
He said equipment is not just physical representation but “testament to our shared determination to safeguard the lives of our fellow Filipinos.”
Under the WFP program, the equipment was procured through the generous support of the USAID.
“These will enable DSWD to efficiently address the needs of the Eastern Visayas region during emergencies,” WFP-Philippine Country Director (ad-interim) Dipayan Bhattacharyya said.
Among the equipment donated to the DSWD were a reach truck, rice milling machine, automatic box sealing machine, portable vacuum sealing machine, retractable roller conveyor, hydraulic hand pallet trucks, plastic pallet bins, high volume low-speed ceiling fan and generator set.
Super Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, resulting in over 6,300 deaths and the displacement of several thousand families across the different provinces.
The DSWD has provided emergency shelter assistance to more than 1.1 million households, whose houses were partially and totally damaged by the super typhoon, as well as cash-for-building livelihood assets to over 226,300 affected families in exchange for community-based labor.
The DSWD also provided sustainable livelihood grants to more than 117,088 beneficiaries to strengthen their resilience through livelihood assets.
Undersecretary for National Household Targeting System and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Vilma Cabrera shared the narrative of significant partnership and collaboration between the DSWD and the international community.
“Yolanda brought devastations, but it also triggered for the country to prepare,” Cabrera said.
The donated equipment will be utilized by the DSWD Eastern Visayas in its warehouse operations to enhance its stockpiling capacity and improve production and repacking, ensuring a longer shelf life of rice and other relief goods, particularly those that will be delivered and prepositioned in the different satellite and warehouses of the local government units.
“As your partner in prosperity, the US government remains committed to supporting DSWD in providing life-saving support to help Filipinos bounce back from disasters and live a productive life,” USAID Mission Director for the Philippines Ryan Washburn said.
Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla commended the initiative as he stressed that the problem is not centralization but actually distribution.
“In any disaster, the distribution of resources is very crucial,” Petilla said.
Through the types of equipment donated by WFP and USAID, the DSWD will improve its disaster operations, particularly stockpiling and prepositioning of relief resources down to the local level.
During the turnover ceremony, the WFP also highlighted its ongoing collaboration with the Department of Information and Communications Technology that showcased innovative emergency telecommunications solutions to emphasize the critical role of connectivity during emergencies through the Government Emergency Communications System – Mobile Operations Vehicle for Emergencies (MOVE).
It also featured the newly constructed mini-MOVE, a project supported by the USAID.
This collaboration is a first not only in the Philippines, but also in the world, according to the WFP. (With reports from Sarwell Meniano, Roel Amazona/PNA)