World Food Programme delivers rice to flood-hit communities

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is supporting the Lao government in logistics around distributing 500 tons of rice donated by South Korea through the Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR).

The rice is helping communities recover from recent floods in five southern provinces of Laos.

A handover ceremony for food assistance from the APTERR for affected communities took place in Vientiane last week.

In late August and early September, tropical storms precipitated floods in the south, causing deaths, forcing people out of their homes, and leading to large numbers of people losing livelihoods, income and belongings.

The immediate food insecurity of heavily affected communities in the provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan, Xekong and Champassak is currently being remedied through rice sent to Laos from Korea in the framework of the APTERR.

APTERR is a regional cooperation that aims to strengthen food security, alleviate poverty and eradicate malnutrition during and after emergencies within the region without distorting normal trade in the global market.

In this goal, the Asean countries are joined by the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

Since being founded in 2011, APTERR has provided emergency rice to the Lao government on four occasions.

The World Food Programme works with the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to ensure logistics are in place for the distribution of emergency rice.

The current distribution in 34 districts of four southern provinces ensures that a total of 400 tons of rice reach over 33,000 of the most vulnerable, flood affected people.

WFP Country Director and Representative, Jan Delbaere, said “APTERR is an important mechanism to ensure that the immediate food needs of the most affected populations are met on a timely basis. We at WFP are coordinating with the Lao government to deliver the APTERR rice donated by the Republic of Korea to the people most in need.”

“At the same time, WFP is striving to strengthen national capacities for enhanced emergency preparedness and response. Amongst other ongoing activities, we are currently conducting trainings around the country on assembling and managing mobile storage units, which are temporary warehouses with the capacity to store and sort food supplies and relief items, as well as act as emergency shelters if needed,” Mr Delbaere said.

The United Nations World Food Programme helps to save lives in emergencies and changes lives for millions through sustainable development.

WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.