Part of the 10th year ‘Yolanda’ anniversary

TACLOBAN CITY – The World Food Programme (WFP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) donated equipment to the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to boost the disaster response in Eastern Visayas.

The equipment donated to the DSWD includes 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 a generator set as part of the 10th anniversary of Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’(international name: Haiyan).

A communication system from the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) was also included as part of the WFP partnership with DSWD.
The ceremonial handover event, held at the Regional Resource Operation Center of the DSWD in Palo town on Wednesday(Nov.8), was attended by Undersecretary for National Household Targeting System and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Vilma Cabrera, DSWD Undersecretary for Disaster Response and Management Group Diane Rose Cajipe, DSWD-8 Regional Director Grace Subong, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla, WFP-Philippine Country Director, ad-interim, Dipayan Bhattacharyya, and USAID Mission Director for the Philippines and Mongolia Ryan Washburn.

The donation of the WFP is in response to the department’s request for support in upgrading its warehouse capacity, and to ensure that the regional warehouse will continuously be able to supply the requirements of the region during times of disaster, calamities, and emergencies.

The 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.
Gov. Petilla, in his message, emphasized the importance of distributing resources before disaster strikes to ensure that local government units and national government agencies can respond immediately after calamities.

“It’s not centralization but actually distribution. In every disaster, distributed resources are actually crucial,” he stressed.

This was supported by Usec. Cabrera, who said that among the lessons they have learned during Yolanda, was to distribute preparation activities in disaster response, particularly on food and non-food stocks.

“Preparation for stockpiling should not be done in one location but should be scattered in all areas, particularly in areas that will not be directly affected so that it will be easy to distribute during a humanitarian response,” the DSWD official said.

During the turn-over, the WFP also highlighted the ongoing collaboration with the DICT 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 (GECS-MOVE).

They also featured the newly constructed mini-MOVE, a project supported by USAID.
This collaboration is a first not only in the Philippines but also in the world, according to the WFP.

Bhattacharyya said that this is one of the innovations that they made in terms of disaster response.

“WFP is very grateful for this collaboration. Together, we are making a difference before and after disaster strikes,” he said. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)