Australia boosts disaster response capacity of DSWD

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 7, (PIA) - -The Australian Government has strengthened disaster response capacity of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through a P104 million (A$3 million) grant under a three-year Support Program for Disaster Response.

The program covers three components: capacity building, warehouse construction, and prepositioning of emergency relief supplies.

“The Australian Government is committed to support the Philippines in building its resilience through disaster preparedness, and stands ready to support the Philippines and the Filipino people in times of disasters and emergencies,” Ambassador Bill Tweddell said during the program’s launch on December 3 at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC), DSWD’s main disaster hub located in Pasay City.

Under the program, Australia is supporting the upgrade of NROC and the construction of a new warehouse. The groundbreaking ceremony of the new warehouse was led by Ambassador Tweddell and DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

After its completion, the facility’s storage capacity will increase from 200,000 to 270,000 packaged and unpackaged family food packs and will provide safe storage for additional vital non-food items such as blankets, cooking implements, and mosquito nets, among others.

The program also supports the prepositioning of emergency relief supplies such as tents, laminated sacks, family kits, and children’s toys. This complements DSWD’s standby emergency relief supplies and will be prepositioned in the different regional offices of DSWD and at NROC. Close to 400,000 individuals, or 78,000 families including 36,000 children, will benefit from these humanitarian relief items.

“This partnership between Australia and DSWD is very timely and appropriate as we prepare to respond to the new normal of having stronger typhoons, long spells of droughts, and earthquakes. I am grateful to the Australian Government for this long-standing engagement which started in social protection and now includes collaboration in ensuring preparedness in responding to the needs of disaster-affected populations and communities,” Secretary Soliman said.

Australia also deployed an Australian Civilian Corps Adviser on Disaster Response Systems to assist in capacity building and strengthening the disaster response framework and strategies of DSWD.

A modernized repacking system has been earlier set up by DSWD through the assistance of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). The Mechanized Production System will help improve the national response capacity of the country as it will speed up the production of emergency family food packs next time the country faces a disaster.

DSWD is the Vice-Chair for Response of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and lead agency of the Food and Non-Food Cluster, Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, and Protection Cluster under the humanitarian cluster system of the Council. (DSWD/RJB/LFB/PIA-NCR)


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