MANILA – Three weeks after Super Typhoon Odette (known internationally as Rai) devastated a huge swathe of the Philippines, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is warning that nutrition and food security are at risk in communities in hard-hit areas unless immediate food needs are met over the next six months.

“Super Typhoon Odette left a trail of devastation in its wake – affecting millions. Unless we act now and provide badly needed food assistance to affected families, we risk seeing a rapid rise in preventable malnutrition,” said U.N. World Food Programme Country Director and Representative Brenda Barton. 11 out of the Philippines’ 17 regions were affected.

Typhoon Odette – the strongest typhoon to strike the Philippine archipelago in 2021- made landfall nine times over an area the size of Austria over two days. Over 7 million people were affected, according to the latest government data, and the typhoon flattened houses, upended lives, and devastated farming and fishing communities which provide a major source of income and livelihoods. It caused massive electricity and telecommunications outages that are still affecting many areas.

“Advance preparations and early response by the government have been laudable. Death rates have been relatively low and emergency support is rolling out to communities. But the road to recovery is long and more support will be needed,” Barton added.

She underlined highly concerning hunger levels and malnutrition rates pre-typhoon. In some impacted areas like Caraga region, 53 percent of families were unable to afford a nutritious diet while childhood stunting was 36 percent (beyond the World Health Organization threshold, which signifies “very high public health significance.”) Stunting indicates that children are already suffering from long-term deprivation. Their nutritional status puts them greater risk for diseases and even death.

In support of government-led relief and recovery efforts, the U.N. World Food Programme requires $25.8 million to provide food assistance to 250,000 typhoon survivors, alongside emergency logistics and telecommunications support to the broader typhoon response. Of this, $20.8 million is needed for food and cash transfers over the next six months.

Initially, the U.N. World Food Programme will provide food to augment the family food packs given out by the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD), ensuring communities can meet their essential food needs while food prices remain unstable. This will be followed by cash assistance, which will help people to recover while also stimulating the economy in places where markets are already up-and-running.

So far, U.N. World Food Programme has received $4.7 million – from the Governments of Australia, Brazil, Ireland and the US, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), private sector and generous individual donations via the U.N. World Food Programme’s Share The Meal website and app. “Immediate funding is essential if we are to prevent a nutrition emergency – we were already seeing worrisome malnutrition in the affected areas,” Barton added.

When Typhoon Odette hit, the U.N. World Food Programme immediately supported the Philippine Government in its relief efforts, deploying 113 trucks to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the delivery of family food packs, hygiene kits and other non-food relief items. The U.N. World Food Programme and the Department of Information, Communication and Technology have also – for the first time – rolled out innovative mobile emergency telecommunications sets (“MOVE”) which have made it possible for emergency responders to quickly communicate and coordinate in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), women and girls become even more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, human trafficking and gender-based violence after natural calamities such as Typhoon Odette. Unconfirmed incidents of rape, domestic violence and sex in exchange for food have been reported by UNFPA field staff – a result of the desperate situation ignited by the scarcity of food and clean water, and the disruption of community support systems and protection mechanisms brought upon by Typhoon Odette.

“We’re seeing all of these challenges at the present time, and we know that they are linked. That is why we put women’s health, rights, and choices at the center of our humanitarian response to the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Odette,“ said Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Representative in the Philippines.

Note to editors:

The U.N. World Food Programme’s funding request for $25.8 million to assist 250,000 people is part of the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) plan which aims to mobilize $107.2 million to assist 530,000 people mostly in typhoon-affected areas from December 2021 to June 2022. UNICEF and the National Nutrition Council co-lead the national Nutrition Cluster comprising: national government, UN , NGO’s and CSO’s.

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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.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media, @WFP_Philippines

MANILA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing crucial emergency logistics and telecommunications support to the Government of the Philippines in its response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Rai. This is the strongest storm to hit the Philippines in 2021 and the third strongest typhoon to strike the Philippines in December since the 1950s.

“Our thoughts are with the families who have been through so much – the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and now this devastating typhoon. The U.N. World Food Programme stands firmly with those living on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Under the Government’s leadership, we will do what is needed to help communities recover from this ordeal and continue building their resilience against future shocks,” said U.N. World Food Programme Country Director Brenda Barton.

Typhoon Rai – known locally as “Odette” – made landfall in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte province, in the southeast of the Philippines, on December 16, bringing torrential rains, heavy winds, storm surges and landslides. After passing through nine central/southern regions, it exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility on December 19, leaving behind a massive trail of damage. The storm has affected the lives and livelihoods of more than 1.8 million people, including more than 600,000 people displaced from their homes and sheltering in evacuation sites.

As of December 20, many communities along the typhoon’s path remain without power or telecommunications. Transportation options are still limited, which is hampering relief efforts. The storm struck as countless Filipinos were still facing hardships linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have stretched their coping capacity to the limit.

In collaboration with the U.N. World Food Programme, the Government’s Department of Information, Communications and Technology (DICT) rapidly deployed three newly-built Mobile Operations Vehicles for Emergencies (MOVE) units from pre-positioned bases in Butuan, Davao and Tacloban to the disaster zones in Surigao City and Maasin City in Leyte. In Surigao City, the two MOVE units have become the first means to bring connectivity to the Government coordination and response since the communications infrastructure was damaged by the typhoon. The U.N. World Food Programme IT staff on the ground have also helped set up portable MOVE sets in Siargao Island and are now working on Dinagat Island.

The units are part of the six MOVE units the U.N. World Food Programme co-designed and produced with DICT with an aim to strengthen its telecommunications capacity during rapid-onset emergencies.

The U.N. World Food Programme has donated 12 portable satellite communication devices to DICT and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help the authorities coordinate their responses in remote areas, and two mobile storage units and a generator for the establishment of a logistics hub in Surigao City. The U.N. World Food Programme is also providing vital logistics support to transport family food packs to affected areas.

The U.N. World Food Programme and humanitarian partners are closely monitoring the formation of another potential storm which could further impact areas already affected by Rai. The U.N. World Food Programme is also coordinating with FAO to draft a response plan for the Food Security and Agriculture cluster.

As part of a coordinated response by UN agencies, NGOs and private sector partners, the U.N. World Food Programme will continue providing telecommunications and logistics support to the Government, and will require $310,000 for this critical support in the next two weeks.

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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.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@wfp_media@WFP_philippines, and @WFPAsiaPacific

WASHINGTON, DC (November 2, 2020) – Super Typhoon Goni struck the Philippines at dawn yesterday, destroying homes, schools, businesses and essential infrastructure. Survivors have lost everything and are in immediate need. The United Nations World Food Programme, with the International Office for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), are currently conducting an inter-agency rapid needs assessment in the hardest hit province of Albay to assess the impact and determine the needs of the affected populations. Among the initially identified top needs were food, shelter, electricity, and emergency telecommunications. In addition, the U.N. World Food Programme is on standby, ready to deploy 35 trucks to the hardest hit areas with food and non-food items.

Goni is the most powerful typhoon to hit the country in 2020 and around 68.6 million people are affected. With their homes destroyed, the most vulnerable children and families also face exposure to COVID-19.

In the Philippines, one of the world’s most natural disaster-prone countries, the U.N. World Food Programme works to increase long-term food and nutrition security while helping its people and communities build resilience and capacity to withstand the impact of disasters.  Since March 2020, the U.N. World Food Programme has been providing technical support and augmenting logistics operations to the Government’s COVID-19 response.

World Food Program USA stands by the Philippine people as they cope with the storm’s destruction and will do all it can to support the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency response in the region.

Media Contact: 
Toula Athas, Director, Communications, World Food Program USA, 202.627.3940

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