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Japan aid sustains WFP Typhoon Pablo operations

DAVAO CITY – As the Philippine Government scales up its early recovery efforts for communities affected by Typhoon Pablo (international name “Bopha”), support from the Government of Japan – through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) – will help sustain the Philippine Government’s on-going Typhoon Pablo operations.

The Japanese Government, which has allocated PhP81 million (US$2 million) for the Typhoon Pablo response, has enabled WFP to purchase 2,982,000 kilograms (2,982 metric tons) of rice, enough to feed 250,000 people for two months.

The donation was formally handed over recently by the Embassy of Japan’s Head of Davao Consular Office Koichi Ibara, in the Municipality of Monkayo in Compostela Valley province. Receiving the donation were Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Provincial Director Josephine Frasco. Also present were Koki Ando, chairman of the Japan Association for WFP; Dipayan Bhattacharyya, WFP Philippines officer-in-charge; and Masanobu Horie, WFP Philippines head of programme in Mindanao.

“Initially, in response to the efforts to assist victims affected by the Typhoon Pablo disaster last December, the Government of Japan provided emergency assistance amounting to 45 million Japanese yen (approximately PhP22 million) in the form of relief items coursed through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In addition, the emergency grant aid of US$4.2 million to the Philippines was in response to the Typhoon Bopha/Pablo Response-Action Plan for Recovery carried out by the United Nations and the Government of the Philippines through the WFP, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Japan has placed emphasis on the recovery of this area from the disaster, and has continuously monitored efficient and effective implementation of the action plan,” according to the Embassy of Japan.

This food assistance has boosted support for the DSWD’s Typhoon Pablo efforts, particularly general food distribution in the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, and Lanao del Sur. As part of a general food distribution, the rice is re-bagged into the DSWD Family Relief Packs, along with other food items.

The rice is also used to support early recovery activities such as vegetable production and banana rehabilitation, which aim to help communities re-establish their livelihoods. These initiatives, particularly in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, are supported by the DSWD and WFP’s food-for-work programme, which are set to expand to large-scale implementation after April.

“WFP is grateful to the Government of Japan for its timely and generous support to the Government of the Philippines, through WFP, in this enormous task of helping families and communities severely affected by Typhoon Bopha,” said WFP Philippines Deputy Country Director Asaka Nyangara. “Aside from assisting WFP in our regular programmes in Central Mindanao, Japan has always been ready to support WFP during major disasters,” he added.

The Government of Japan was one of the first to respond to the UN appeal for donations for Typhoon Pablo in December 2012. Japan also provided support to Tropical Storm Sendong (international name Washi) operations in Northern Mindanao in December 2011.

Aside from its assistance during Typhoon Pablo and Tropical Storm Sendong, Japan has also been one of WFP’s key development partners in the Philippines since 2009, supporting programmes in conflict-affected areas of Central Mindanao. Globally, Japan is also among the top five donors to WFP’s efforts to fight hunger worldwide. (WFP)