WFP Josette Sheeran: Philippines Storm Aftermath

The head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) pledge the agency's full support to the government and people of the Philippines as they seek to deal with the effects of the violent storms that devastated parts of the country last month.

Following tropical storm Ketsana and typhoon Parma which hit the Philippines in late September, the World Food Programs (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran visited the country for three days and toured the areas worst affected by flooding with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and WFPs goodwill ambassador, actress KC Conception.

WFP said that the two storms cut off basic necessities for up to eight million people and that the agency was providing food for about a million, besides providing the logistics operation for the entire UN effort.

WFP is distributing rice and High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) to the affected people around Manila and the northern Luzon Island. The biscuits are ideal for emergencies such as the current one in the Philippines because they do not need to be cooked and they are rich in vitamins and minerals.

President Arroyo thanked the WFP for its valuable assistance in the flooded areas and for its assistance to peace and development in Mindanao.

On September 26 Tropical Storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest single day of rains in more than four decades on Manila and surrounding areas, killing 420. Typhoon Parma hit northern Luzon exactly a week later, triggering landslides and floods that left at least 438 people dead.

According to the Government Ketsana affected 4.3 million people and Parma 3.1 million. The two storms hit the rice-growing areas of Luzon particularly hard. The government reports that 839,000 metric tons of yet-to-be-harvested paddy rice was ruined.

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