The Australian Government has provided P42.7 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the Philippine Government’s response to the Marawi crisis.
With this funding, WFP will be able to provide six months of school meals for 50,000 students affected by the crisis.
“As a good friend and neighbor, Australia is committed to providing humanitarian assistance when necessary,” said Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely. “Through our partnership with the Department of Education and Task Force Bangon Marawi, we are supporting people affected by the Marawi crisis.”
Australia has supported early recovery activities by addressing the immediate food needs of people affected by the crisis. In addition to school meals, Australia’s support will provide food assistance for nearly 23,000 households and 8,100 vulnerable laborers and farmers.
Australia’s support will contribute to peace and stability in the area, and allow students to finish the academic school year, which ends in March.
“Education plays an important role in community-building. We’re pleased these emergency school meals will support students’ education and development,” added Gorely.
In July 2017, Australia donated rice that was prepositioned and used to feed more than 57,000 primary and secondary students in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.
Australia later contributed an additional P19 million to WFP, which supported the general food distribution carried out by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. This provided rice to 11,000 households in Lanao del Sur from August to December 2017.
“We are grateful for our strategic partnership with the Australian Government which allowed us to immediately respond to the Marawi crisis through rice that was prepositioned at the onset of the emergency,” said Stephen Gluning, WFP Representative and Country Director. “Australia’s support of emergency school meals will enable students to continue their studies while being nourished with a daily meal.”
Since June 2017, the Philippine Government and WFP have distributed rice to about 128,000 people and provided school meals to more than 57,000 students in the country. WFP is mobilizing additional resources to cover the needs of its current operations until May 2018, including early recovery activities that involve food and cash-based assistance.