DSWD receives PhP104-M support from Australia to boost disaster response capacity

MANILA, Dec. 3 (PNA) — The Philippine Government and the Australian Government have partnered to strengthen the capacity of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to respond to natural disasters and emergencies through a PhP104-million (AUD3 million) grant under a three-year Support Program for Disaster Response.

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

Speaking at the launching of the Support Program in DSWD National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City today, Ambassador Bill Tweddell said, “The Australian Government is committed to support the Philippines in building its resilience through preparedness to respond, and stand ready to support the Philippines and the Filipino people in times of disasters and emergencies.”

The Support Program for Disaster Response has the following components: capacity building, warehouse construction, and prepositioning of emergency relief supplies.

Australia is supporting the upgrading of the DSWD National Resource Operations Center and the construction of new warehouse. After its completion, the facility’s storage capacity will increase from 30,000 to 100,000 family food packs and provide safe storage for vital non-food items (blankets, cooking implements, mosquito nets).

The ground-breaking ceremony was led by Ambassador Tweddell and DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman.

Emergency relief supplies composed of tents, laminated sacks, family kits and children’s’ toys will be prepositioned in the different regional offices of DSWD and the National Resource Operation Center in Pasay City. Close to 400,000 individuals or 78,000 families, as well as 36,000 children will benefit from these humanitarian relief items.

Secretary Soliman said, “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 its 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.”

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