UN distributes tons of hi-energy biscuits
MANILA, Philippines—The World Food Programme (WFP) has started distributing high-energy and vitamin-enriched biscuits to evacuees in flood-hit communities around Luzon, as authorities scrambled to provide food and other emergency provisions on Saturday to more than two million people affected by widespread flooding as the death toll rose to 66.
The WFP, the food assistance branch of the United Nations, is providing 52.5 metric tons of fortified biscuits for distribution to evacuation centers in Metro Manila, and Central and Southern Luzon.
The wheat-based biscuits are enriched with vitamins and minerals considered crucial in sustaining evacuees in the first few days of an emergency, when cooking would still be difficult.
The WFP also said it was hiring trucks to help the government transport other relief supplies.
“[The] WFP is saddened by the humanitarian impact of the nonstop rains over the last week in the Philippines, and we would like reiterate our solidarity with the Philippine government during times of emergencies,” said WFP Country Director Stephen Anderson.
“We stand ready to offer our full support to augment government efforts when needed,” Anderson said in a statement.
The WFP high-energy biscuits, estimated to benefit some 262,500 displaced individuals, are being distributed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Of the 52.5 metric ton total, 39.5 metric tons will be distributed to priority areas in Central and Southern Luzon, benefiting some 197,500 evacuees.
Some 13 tons will go to 65,000 flood-stricken individuals in severely affected parts of Metro Manila, including Marikina, Muntinlupa, Manila, Parañaque and Quezon City.
The WFP has also partnered with the Department of Health to deliver ready-to-use supplementary food to some 77,000 flood-stricken children, aged six months to 3 years.
The flooding that submerged 80 percent of Metro Manila early in the week has largely subsided, allowing people to return to their homes, but more than 100 low-lying towns and cities to the north remain under water.
Benito Ramos, director of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the huge displaced population, including 441,000 people crammed in crowded evacuation camps, would need to be fed and taken care of for at least another seven days.
“The bulk of our operations involves relief, but also cleanup. Volunteers are packaging 100,000 food packs for immediate distribution,” Ramos told AFP. With a report from AFP
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