Meeting with survivors in Tacloban on Sunday, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin acknowledged the strength of the local people, who are working shoulder-to-shoulder with WFP and other relief organizations to respond to the disaster.
"What I've seen in Tacloban today is the incredible resilience of the Philipino people. These people are not asking for a handout, they're asking for a hand up to rebuild their lives," Cousin said, after helping to distribute High Energy Biscuits to children at a local high school that has been turned into an evacuation centre.
Since 13 November, family food packs with rice for more than 760,000 people, plus High Energy Biscuits for 33,000 people have been dispatched to shelters in 24 municipalities on Leyte Island, as well as in Tacloban City, where Cousin also met with government officials.
"Some of these people have lost everything. But what they do have from WFP is access to nutritious food," Cousin said. "WFP has been working tirelessly with our government counterpart, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, to get food out to the affected people. Together, we are working to overcome logistical challenges and are scaling up the number of people reached every day."
On Monday, Cousin is scheduled to visit Roxas City on the island of Payan, located west of Leyte Island. WFP is establishing a logistics hub in Roxas, in addition to a hub on Cebu Island, and other hubs in the communities of Ormoc and Guiuan on Leyte Island.
16-17, NOVEMBER, 2013, TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES
Aerial of damage
Aerial of "help" sign on the street
Food distribution center
Various shots, food distribution
Pan left, woman carrying bags with food in temp. shelter
Various shots, WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin distributing food
WFP rice sacks stored at a warehouse
Various shots, rice distribution
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin speaks to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
Various shots, debris cleaning
SOUNDBITE (English) Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director:
"The challenge is, these families have lost everything, but what they do have from WFP is access to nutritious food. But what's good about what we're seeing here today is the resilience of the people of this community; they're not asking us for a handout, they're looking for a hand up as they continue to rebuild their lives."