General

World Food Programme strengthens Lao PDR’s emergency preparedness

The World Food Programme (WFP) entrusted the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare with four temporary mobile warehouses with the capacity to store and sort food supplies and relief items in case of a disaster on Monday.

The handover ceremony was held at the Ministry of Labour and Social-welfare in Vientiane between Mr Vilayphong Sisomvang, DG, Social Welfare Department, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and Mr Jan Delbaere, WFP Country Director and Representative.

In support of the government’s emergency preparedness, WFP, through the Global Logistics Cluster, has been supporting the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare with capacity building around logistics and coordination for disasters.

Amongst others, a strategy was jointly drawn up to identify placement of so-called mobile storage units around the country so that in case of a rapid onset emergency these mobile warehouses can be deployed quickly.

The four storage units are worth US$59,600. Each of them has a capacity to store 500 metric tonnes of relief items – which corresponds to 10,000 rice bags of 50 kilograms each. These mobile storage units, together with other equipment, can form a ready-to-deploy logistics hub in case a field operations centre is needed during an emergency.

The Global Logistics Cluster, a mechanism to ensure effective disaster response, is coordinated by WFP because of its expertise in humanitarian logistics and its field capacity.

“Not all of our provincial departments have facilities to ensure relief items such as food and safety equipment are stored without danger of damage. We are thankful to WFP for donating four mobile storage units for deployment in Xayaboury, Bokeo, Luang Namtha and Savannakhet, supporting our disaster preparedness efforts,” said Mr Vilayphong Sisomvang.

These four storage units will add to others deployed in Attapeu, Xekong, Khammuan and Oudomxay, forming a network of seven temporary storage facilities in total donated to the government by WFP.

“Preparedness is essential in times of unpredictable weather patterns, due to the changing climate. Mobile Storage Units have had an important role in past years of flooding in the Lao PDR, to ensure that relief items reach those in distress in the shortest time possible. I am happy about our fruitful partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, which we are reinforcing again today,” said Jan Delbaere, WFP Country Director and Representative.

Source: Lao News Agency