By Roy C. Mabasa
The Australian government donated P42.7 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help feed thousands of people affected and displaced by the Marawi City crisis.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely said that the amount will allow the WFP to provide meals to 50,000 students affected by the crisis for six months.
In a statement, Ambassador Gorely expressed the commitment of Australia to provide humanitarian assistance when necessary especially to a “good friend and neighbor” such as the Philippines.
Gorely noted that 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.
Furthermore, 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, the top Australian diplomat in Manila said.
Last July, 2017, Australia donated rice which was prepositioned and used to feed more than 57,000 primary and secondary students in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.
Australia later donated an additional P19 million (AUD500,000) 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.