DSWD to enhance relief goods handling, warehousing, logistics preparations for future disasters PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 April 2014 11:16

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Thursday it will further enhance its relief goods handling, warehousing and logistics preparations to ensure distribution readiness and safety of the people during calamities.

During a press briefing about the agency’s response and early recovery updates on disaster-stricken areas, DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman explained that they have formulated ways to enhance the response and relief efforts of the department based on the “big lessons” learned from the disasters that hit the country, particularly super typhoon “Yolanda” in November last year.

“Aside from the need to preposition higher volume of family food packs, we also see the need for more logistics support such as trucks, ships, smaller vehicles that can safely and immediately transport relief goods in the event that a similar disaster occurs in the future,” the DSWD chief said.

Soliman explained that inadequate transport equipment had contributed to the slow relief goods distribution to the areas affected by the disaster last November. She said that the lack of enough transport facilities hampered the immediate delivery of relief goods from one hub to another or from DSWD’s warehouses to the affected areas.

She also said that the unusually big quantity of debris left by the typhoon aggravated the distribution problem, aside from the bad weather condition that in some cases caused some relief goods to get wet.

“As a lesson learned during close assessment, we see that equipment such as chain saws should be made available to enable the local government units (LGUs) or the response teams to clear all the hampering debris brought about by typhoon,” she added.

In addition to that, the lady DSWD chief also said that a “Surge Team” has been organized from the DSWD central office and every DSWD Field Office tasked to be “first responder” in case an area is heavily hit by a calamity or typhoon as strong as “Yolanda” or at least wind strength equivalent to storm warning signal No. 3 of the state-run Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

“The team is expected to penetrate the affected area within 24 hours and set up the necessary plans and actions that will be immediately undertaken to respond faster to the victims,” she added.

The DSWD chief further said that they had negotiated with other international organizations to enhance their logistics capacity.

“We are finalizing the Memorandum of Agreement with the United Nations World Food Programme (UN-WFP) and Office of Civil Defense-Department of National Defense (OCD-DND) for the construction of three regional island cluster warehouses in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao,” she added.

The cluster warehouses will be located in Cebu for the Visayas; Mabalacat, Pampanga for Luzon; and Davao for Mindanao.