* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
VIENTIANE – The United Nations World Food Programme has provided 223 Metric tonnes (MT) of rice donated by the Government of Japan through the APTERR (ASEAN plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve) to assist severely food insecure communities still recovering from the September 2013 floods in the Khongxedone district of Saravane Province.
Following the final harvest of 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare were able to get a more accurate indication of the actual crop losses farmers experienced due to last year's floods. As such, the Government of Lao PDR requested WFP to provide critical food assistance, consisting of APTERR rice complemented by WFP vegetable oil to some 14,800 villagers in Khongxedone District, one of the most severely affected districts by the 2013 floods, to mitigate their risk of food insecurity and enhance their resilience capacity during the most critical time of the lean season.
Ms. Nongnooth Deethea, APTERR Representative from Thailand, Ms. Tomomi Fujisawa the Second Secretary at the Embassy of Japan, Mr. Thadom Akkharath, Director of the Department of Planning and Cooperation Division for Economic Integration of MAF, Mr. Khamphao Hompangna, Deputy Director General of the Social Welfare Department of the National Disaster Management Office, Mr. Bradley Guerrant, WFP Lao PDR Country Representative, and staff from each organization participated in the pre- food distribution ceremony event which took place on Monday, 13 January at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare- WFP Commodity Warehouse near KM 17 Vientiane Capital.
"Following a shock or natural disaster, families in Lao PDR have traditionally been forced to sell their tools and utensils, and even their land, to purchase food. It remains imperative that we continue to assist those affected by last year's devastating floods to allow this recovering population to avoid negative coping mechanisms and better withstand future natural disasters," said WFP Lao PDR Country Director Bradley Guerrant.
The floods which occurred in September 2013 affected 53 villages, where 2,231 families lost all of their crops as a result of the damage. Those affected by the disaster continue to remain seriously food insecure and greatly in need of food assistance. WFP Lao PDR is currently mobilizing resources to work together with the government and development partners on the provision of greater recovery assistance to help mitigate the risk of continued food insecurity amongst communities affected by the 2013 floods.
WFP's Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) programme aims to build capacity within the Lao Government to strengthen its ability to address disasters and respond to the needs of its people. WFP also stands ready to rapidly support the government of Lao PDR in case of a humanitarian emergency.
WFP's Emergency Preparedness and Response programme receives generous support from ASEAN, the Government of Australia, and ECHO.
# # #
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
In 2013, WFP Lao PDR provided food assistance to over 211,000 people throughout the country.
To learn more about WFP operations in Lao PDR, visit our website: http://www.wfp.org/countries/laos Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wfplaos
For more information please contact: Ryan Webb Head of External Relations Unit, WFP Lao PDR Tel: (856-21) 330 300 ext. 2340 Mob: (856-20) 5552 7114 Email: email@example.com