A lower-middle-income country, the Philippines has a food deficit that is exacerbated by the combined effects of man-made and natural disasters that include earthquakes, typhoons and armed conflict.
As one of the world's most disaster-prone countries, it ranked third out of 171 countries on the 2015 World Risk Index and fourth out of 188 countries on the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index. The country experiences around 20 typhoons a year, five of which are expected to cause major damage and trigger floods and landslides. Vulnerability to the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and climate change-related phenomena, such as drought, exacerbate the situation.
The Mindanao region has suffered from over four decades of armed conflict. This has resulted in internal displacements – between 2000 and 2010, over 40 percent of families were displaced at least once because of the violence – and overall deterioration of living standards. The people of the Central Mindanao region are the country’s poorest, showing significantly lower rates of primary-school completion and stunted growth (caused by chronic malnutrition) among children under five.
Although the World Food Programme (WFP)’s work in the Philippines dates from1968, we re-established our presence in the country in 2006 at the request of the Government to support the ongoing peace process in the Mindanao region.
Working closely with the Government of the Philippines, other United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and communities, WFP focuses on increasing long-term food and nutrition security while assisting people and communities to build resilience to be better prepared for the consequences of disasters
What the World Food Programme is doing in the Philippines
WFP helps communities affected by conflict and natural disasters to rebuild their lives by encouraging self-sufficiency through food and cash assistance programmes. People are given food or cash in exchange for their participation in asset-creation activities and vocational skills training aimed at strengthening their livelihoods and building resilience to shocks.
WFP provides school-age children in conflict-affected areas of Central Mindanao with hot, nutritious meals, covering one-third of their daily micronutrient needs. Every school year, over 60,000 children in Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, and Lanao del Sur are supported with school meals. Teachers and parents prepare the meals that let children concentrate on their studies rather than their stomachs.
WFP also provides nutritious, ready-to-eat food to children aged 6 months to 5 years, and to pregnant and nursing women in areas affected by conflict and natural disasters. Based on the 2015 National Nutrition Survey, wasting (acute malnutrition) and stunting (chronic malnutrition) among children in WFP's operational areas in Mindanao remained a problem at 7.1 percent and 33.4 percent respectively. WFP is pioneering innovations to improve children’s health, such as a special micronutrient powder for children aged 6 months to 23 months and a locally-produced fortified food for children under three.
Preparing for disasters and emergency response
WFP’s work helps vulnerable communities prepare for and respond to shocks through local community projects, innovative scientific technology, and enhancement of logistics and supply chain management through the establishment of disaster response centres in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
In the event of a sudden-onset emergency, WFP provides support such as rice and high-energy biscuits to affected people as well as logistics and telecommunications support to humanitarian operators.