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Philippines unveils high-speed food packing system for disaster survivors

by Thomson Reuters Foundation | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 14:59 GMT

Archive photo: A typhoon victim holds a placard asking for food while standing amongst the ruins of houses destroyed by super typhoon Haiyan in Tanauan, Leyte in central Philippines November 14, 2013. Philippine President Benigno Aquino was under pressure to speed up the distribution of food, water and medicine to desperate survivors of a powerful typhoon and to revive paralysed local governments. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

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The mechanised system can assemble rations, consisting of rice, canned goods and coffee, and pack them quickly in a small box

BANGKOK, Sept 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Philippines can provide 50,000 family food packs a day at short notice next time it is struck by a natural disaster, thanks to a new packaging system devised by the government and a United Nations agency.

A mechanised system can assemble the rations, consisting of rice, canned goods and coffee, and pack them quickly in a small box.

New rice bagging machines, a conveyor system and a pallet racking system have been installed at the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City in Metro Manila, ready to be flown out to pack the rations and hand them to survivors.

"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 whom we can provide immediate life-saving food," said Praveen Agrawal, Philippines country director of the World Food Programme, which set up the system with the government.

The government and aid agencies came under fire after Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines in November 2013, killing more than 6,300 people, as survivors went for days without food.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said other projects to improve disaster preparedness included establishing a network of response facilities in other parts of the country, and running a training programme focused on emergency logistics.

The Philippines has consistently ranked among the five most disaster-prone countries because of its location on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, one of the most active areas for tropical storms.

(Reporting By Bangkok newsroom, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

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