International Organizations Announce Improved Coordination for Disaster Risk Reduction in Vulnerable Communities

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the two international non-government organizations Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Plan International (Plan) today unveiled plans to link their programmes for improved diasaster risk reduction capacity in typhoon-affected provinces in the Philippines.

The three organisations will work together to enhance the disaster management abilities of local government units, schools and communities in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, the provinces that were most badly affected by Typhoon Pablo (also known as Typhoon Bopha) in 2012.

With funding from the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the organisations aim to build on each other’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) programmes in order to make a bigger impact on the ability of communities to withstand natural hazards and the effects of climate change. USAID/OFDA has given a total of about US$2 million to CRS, Plan and WFP to implement DRRM programmes in areas that were affected by Typhoon Pablo.

The three agencies will share information and assessments, conduct joint monitoring, and share technical expertise and resources, and will map out programme areas together in order to avoid duplications. Each organisation will take on disaster risk reduction activities at different levels: WFP will focus on working with local government at the provincial and municipal level; CRS will work directly with communities at municipal and village levels, while Plan will focus on youth outreach activities at the municipal and village levels.

“Disasters affect the poorest of the poor, and have a very real and direct impact on food insecurity and undernutrition. WFP has established a very close relationship with local governments, non-government and civil society organizations in the provinces to help disaster-prone communities. Our Disaster Preparedness and Response work will strengthen their capacities, and seeks to build their resilience,” said Praveen Agrawal, Representative and Country Director of WFP Philippines.

“CRS will concentrate on the municipal and barangay (village) levels in Compostela Valley to help communities plan and implement activities to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters,” explained Joseph Curry, Country Representative of CRS. Local government units and community leaders will improve early warning systems to ensure that families know where to evacuate and seek assistance.

Plan will be working at the municipal and barangay levels – particularly with schools and youth – in vulnerable municipalities in Davao Oriental to improve the capacity of local governments, schools and communities to respond to disaster events.

“Plan International works a lot on preparedness with communities. Preparation can make all the difference when the worst happens and we work with children, communities and government agencies to identify disaster risks and strengthen their resilience,” said Carin van der Hor, Country Director of Plan.

Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental reportedly suffered the highest number of casualties and greatest damage to livelihoods and properties from Typhoon. The storm hit Eastern Mindanao in December 2012, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and as much as P34 billion (US$850 million) in damages.

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