Photo by Daniel Burgui Iguzkiza/ACF International
November 28, 2013
Today, Action Against Hunger (Action Contre la Faim or “ACF”) is delivering food aid to highly remote populations in the Philippines, with help from the Canadian armed forces.
People in the very remote mountains of Panay Island are in desperate need of immediate food aid. Action Against Hunger will be distributing 5.7 tonnes of NRG5 – high energy biscuits. However, because there are no roads in the area, access to the region will only be made possible by a helicopter provided by the Canadian armed forces.
“The support of the Canadian armed forces is greatly appreciated as it is allowing us to access communities we would not otherwise be able to reach. The only other alternative would be a four day walk to reach these villages,” explains Lucile Grosjean, Emergency Communication Coordinator, Action contre la Faim.
“As a humanitarian NGO we operate independently from armed forces and make every effort to remain separate from them. In most other regions of the Philippines we are able to implement our efforts without army collaboration. For instance, we are currently working on food distributions for 50,000 people without military collaboration. However, in this case, given the lack of other alternatives and the severity of need, we will use the logistics capabilities of the Canadian armed forces – specifically, one of their helicopters,” says Grosjean.
ACF will be the first humanitarian organization to access these highly isolated areas since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines.
“A helicopter will be dedicated to ACF for the day. Once we arrive, our staff will conduct their work independently from the Canadian soldiers on the ground. ACF staff will be comprised of a small team, with no weapons. ACF – alone – will assess the humanitarian situation and conduct distributions of 5.7 tonnes of high energy emergency food to the people there.”
“The Canadian Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is welcome and well-perceived here in the Philippines,” notes Grosjean. “Regardless, neutrality is an essential cornerstone principle of ACF. It is imperative we remain independent from military of all types. Nonetheless, we are grateful for the cooperation as it will allow us to deliver much-needed food aid. Together we are doing everything we can to prevent malnutrition and save lives.”
For more information or to speak with an ACF contact:
Camille DePutter, Director of Communications
Action Contre la Faim | Action Against Hunger Canada
416.644.1016 x 6/ cdeputter@actioncontrelafaim.