(Photo credit: FP/Myron Kamensa)

Philippines: Elyx learns about not losing heart in the face of adversity

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Elyx arrives today in the Philippines, a country in South-East Asia made up of no less than 7,107 wondrous islands, located in the western Pacific Ocean.

The UN has a remarkable presence in the Philippines with more than 20 agencies, funds and programs.

Elyx's mouth is watering at WFP’s Polloc warehouse in Parang, Maguindanao! (Photo credit: WFP/Myron Kamensa)

WFP colleagues are waiting for Elyx in a warehouse in Southern Philippines, to show the ambassador their work in the field. They tell Elyx that unfortunately the country, which is one of the organisation’s founding members, is frequently affected by natural disasters: about 20 typhoons a year, not to mention earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and climate-related hazards, such as droughts. Indeed, it ranked second out of 171 countries on the 2014 World Risk Index. Hence, WFP’s work in the field is crucial!

These days, Super Typhoon Koppu, known as Lando in the Philippines, is smashing into the country with heavy rains and strong winds. In Elyx’s mind, memories of Super Typhoon Haiyan, in November 2013, are still vivid. One of the most powerful storms on record, it killed more than 6,000 people and injured more than 27,000 others.

Elyx observes the logistics preparations at WFP’s Polloc warehouse in Parang, Maguindanao! (Photo credit: WFP/Myron Kamensa)

WFP staff explains to Elyx how it addressed that challenge: through the distribution of food, especially rice and high-energy biscuits, crucial sources of energy for children in the immediate aftermath. Moreover, cash transfers were made to promote recovery and efforts were deployed to provide logistics and telecommunications. Apart from the emergency response, WFP has been steadily helping the poor in the country, particularly those who have been affected by the over four decade-long conflict in the Southern Mindanao island group. School feeding programmes as well as nutrition support to infants, pregnant and nursing women to prevent stunting are paramount in this sense. Finally, WFP empowers local communities and strengthens their resilience to natural and climate-related disasters through, among others, food assistance for assets’ programmes. Indeed, beneficiaries of food aid get involved in the creation of productive community assets!

Elyx helps cadets in Manila on their way to becoming maritime professionals! (Photo credit: IMO)

To conclude visit, Elyx meets cadets undergoing training at a maritime academy in Manila, the capital city. Maritime professionals enjoy the support of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). As Elyx already knows, IMO, which has been in the Philippines since 2003, is the UN agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping as well as the protection of the marine environment. Elyx learns that IMO designated June 25th as the Day of the Seafarer, to recognise the priceless contribution of maritime professionals to world trade and to thank them for the numerous risks that they take while at work.

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