A revamped and modernized repacking system has been set up by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which will speed up the production of emergency family food packs next time the country faces a disaster.
New rice bagging machines, case erectors, a conveyor system and a pallet racking system, which were inaugurated today at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City, will allow the government to produce more than 50,000 family food packs per day next time a disaster occurs in the Philippines – enough to feed more than 250,000 people for three days.
Also known as the Mechanized Production System, which is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), will help improve the national response capacity in the Philippines. Built in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), it will be ready for swift response next time there is a disaster.
“We learnt some important lessons as we mobilised relief for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda,” said Asif Ahmad, UK Ambassador to the Philippines today. “Speed is of the essence in delivering essential survival requirements to people in desperate situations following a natural disaster. This UK government-supported programme will mean that food in the right condition will be delivered quicker and more efficiently.”
“We are pleased to introduce the mechanized production system here in the country,” said Praveen Agrawal, WFP Philippines Representative and Country Director. “This will make a huge difference in the aftermath of a disaster as we are now able to significantly expand the number of people to which we can provide immediate life-saving food.”
The family food pack, which consists of rice, canned goods and coffee, can be packed in a small box for one family, with the newly mechanized production system able to assemble all of the rations in one streamlined process.
“We thank the WFP and DFID for this support,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman. “This is just one of the many efforts we are undertaking to improve the country’s disaster management program. The new system will enable the Department to become more responsive in meeting the food needs of survivors of disasters.”
The modernisation of the family food pack production facility is the result of a partnership between DSWD, the Office of Civil Defense and WFP, to enhance disaster preparedness in the Philippines. Other projects include establishing a network of disaster response facilities in Clark, Cebu, and General Santos, as well as running a training programme that focuses on emergency logistics and the disaster response supply chain.