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Source: World Food Programme (WFP)
25 September 2012

WFP and the Palestinian Authority work on emergency preparedness

RAMALLAH – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a new partnership with the Palestinian Civil Defence to strengthen emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction efforts in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has prioritized improving its own preparedness efforts and WFP is providing support to emergency telecommunications, logistics and information management. The occupied Palestinian territory is exposed to a range of risks, including earthquakes, landslides, flooding, droughts and civil unrest all of which are exacerbated by urbanization, settlement activities and conflict.

“In the occupied Palestinian territory, the question is not ‘if’ a disaster will strike, but ‘when,’” said WFP’s Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory Pablo Recalde. “Today is the beginning of a new avenue of cooperation between WFP and the PA, one which will save lives through being better prepared.”

WFP and the Palestinian authority launched the new partnership in an event in Ramallah. WFP pledged immediate assistance with establishing a new communications system, assisting in developing both a new web-based disaster preparedness and emergency management hub and a mobile phone-based information management system. The Palestinian Authority and WFP will jointly manage these projects to lay a foundation for future efforts towards strengthening emergency preparedness and reducing disaster risk.

Future projects will include SMS alerts and information for residents in the West Bank and the establishment of an emergency communications command centre. A web-based mapping platform will also be developed to assess risks for various hazards and to help first responders understand how to better act when disaster strikes.

This partnership is in line with the United Nations’ efforts towards supporting preparedness in the occupied Palestinian territory. In August, five UN agencies (UNOPS, OCHA, WFP, UNDP and UNRWA) signed an agreement of cooperation “Delivering As One” to provide support to the Palestinian Civil Defence. The agreement aims to provide coordinated assistance on a number of disaster risk reduction initiatives both separately and collectively, building on the strengths of each agency.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.

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Anna Trolle-Lindgren, WFP/Jerusalem, Tel. 0546773128.

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