UN food relief agency to hand out rice to displaced people in southern Philippines
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced plans to provide emergency relief for more than 42,000 people displaced from their homes on the troubled island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, where there have been deadly clashes over the past week between Government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front.
In cooperation with the Philippine Government, WFP will distribute 85 metric tons of rice to the displaced on Jolo following a request from the Governor of Sulu province, where the island is located.
WFP Country Director Valerie Guarnieri described the province – where at least 12 people were killed in this week’s clashes – as one of the most conflict-affected areas of the south.
“We hope this support for hungry families will help stabilize the situation in Sulu,” Ms. Guarnieri said.
Last month the agency provided 25 tons of rice to 6,000 people in Sulu displaced by earlier unrest, but those people have since returned to their homes. Although the Government signed a peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996, fighting between the two sides has erupted periodically since then.
WFP’s activities in the southern Philippines include not only the direct distribution of free food to needy families, but the use of food to encourage better school attendance, provide nutritional support for mothers and to repair damaged infrastructure.