Algeria’s rice now in Central Visayas

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Saturday, January 4, 2014


CEBU -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas received on Saturday 780 metric tons (MT) of rice donated by the Government of Algeria for survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

DSWD Regional Director Mercedita Jabagat said the rice, turned over Saturday in the Cebu International Port, was the first of a series of shipments of Algerian donations, estimated to amount to 6,400 metric tons worth US$3 million (P133,935,000).

Algerian Ambassador to the Philippines Abdelmalek Bouheddu turned over the donation.

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It’s been nearly two months since Yolanda displaced around four million people all over the Visayas.

The typhoon’s winds and storm surges ended 6,166 lives. As of Saturday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that 1,785 remained missing, with 28,626 injured.

Kerwin Macopia of DSWD said the agency continues to repack thousands of family packs for typhoon survivors in northern Cebu, despite the fact they are now on the rehabilitation stage.

Nationwide, some P36.6 billion worth of infrastructure and agricultural crops were lost during the typhoon. About 1.14 million houses will need to be fixed or rebuilt.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Regional Director Marina Hermoso said it will take more months for farmers in northern Cebu to recover, considering all their plants and equipment were destroyed during the typhoon.

Ambassador Bouheddu said: “Algeria’s rice donation is meant to aid the most food-insecure households among the vulnerable families identified by the Philippine authorities in the areas devastated by the horrible typhoon.”

He added that the aid “shows that despite the distance separating our two countries, we can, in times of adversity, extend our hand to help by reaching out and giving our hearts in a gesture of solidarity with the friendly people of the Philippines.”

Various countries have pledged a total of P23.79 billion to the Philippines, to help communities recover and rebuild after the typhoon, which struck the Visayas less than a month after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

Government said on its Faith (Foreign Aid Transparency Hub) website that P20.99 billion of the pledges were for donations in kind. So far, some P592.58 million in cash donations has been coursed through the government.

“We have to keep in mind all the human sufferings that nature’s upheavals have inflicted on the Visayas,” the Algerian ambassador said.

“Despite the blows, the majority of the Filipinos continue to see the bright side of things, thanks to their resilience as a people who do not want to be weighed down by negative thoughts. This strong spirit has strengthened their resolve to go forward,” Bouheddu said.

He noted that the international community has showed that the Philippines is not alone in dealing with disasters, as more than 60 countries and foreign institutions have pledged or donated relief.

The Algerian ambassador also hailed DSWD’s dedication to ensure a swift and efficient delivery of relief to the typhoon-affected areas. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 05, 2014.

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