Wednesday, October 13, 2010

UN World Food Programme Assists 250,000 Food-Insecure Persons Monthly in Conflict-Affected Central Mindanao

Contrary to some recent media reports that incorrectly quote the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as stating that 250,000 displaced persons are “starving” in Mindanao, WFP would like to clarify the situation as follows:

WFP, in close partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other government departments, is currently providing food assistance, through community-managed livelihood activities, on a monthly basis to 250,000 food-insecure persons in conflict-affected areas of Central Mindanao. These communities were previously displaced due to the upsurge in conflict in August 2008. Starvation is an extreme form of hunger and the prevailing situation in Mindanao, while requiring ongoing support to strengthen resilience, cannot be categorized as “starvation”. Food-insecure people are those who do not have sustainable access to food due to socio-economic reasons as well as shocks such as conflict and natural disasters.

WFP’s current programme of assistance in Central Mindanao is based on a Food Security Assessment that was carried out in January 2010, which highlighted food security constraints among internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their places of origin. In line with government priorities, the main focus of WFP assistance is on “early recovery” activities in the IDP return areas.

Based on the recently-released 2010 Global Hunger Index, produced by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Philippines as a whole, ranks 34th out of 84 countries analyzed, with the 84th country having the worst hunger index. The Philippines has been classified as having a “serious” hunger index, as opposed to other countries in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa classified with “alarming” and “extremely alarming” hunger indices.

The Government of the Philippines is consolidating and expanding social safety net programmes aimed at enhancing resilience of the most vulnerable throughout the country, including in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao. WFP supports these efforts.

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