VIENTIANE CAPITAL – The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare today announced expanding activities to improve community and government capacities in disaster risk reduction in the north of the country. A total of 16,000 people in four districts of Oudomxay and Phongsaly provinces will benefit from this cooperation supported by the United States through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented under the leadership of the Ministry and by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The project focuses on reducing the risks posed by climate-related threats and disasters and their impact on communities, as well as on boosting food security for the most vulnerable populations. The project's core objectives include community engagement for disaster risk reduction and improved livelihoods year-around, and the strengthening of national and local disaster management systems. Disaster risk reduction and food security are closely linked, as disasters can significantly impact the availability of and access to food.
Speaking at the project launch in Vientiane, Vice Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Mr. Leepao Yang said, ”the four districts in Oudomxay and Phongsaly provinces have in recent years suffered increasingly from seasonal floods and droughts, putting pressure on communities who are already threatened by food insecurity. Through this project, our Department of Social Welfare will also receive systems strengthening in supply chain and logistics management, as well as in conducting rapid emergency assessments. We are grateful for the support and collaboration of USAID and WFP for the benefit of building community resilience, as well as strengthening our national response and preparedness capacities.”
Mr. Michael Ronning, USAID Country Representative to Laos, highlighted the expanding collaboration between the United States and Lao PDR in protecting lives and addressing the climate crisis. He said at the launching event, “USAID is proud to continue these efforts with the Ministry and is pleased to announce that this program will expand support to communities from 15 to 40 villages in both provinces, preventing loss of lives, enhancing food security, and mitigating the impacts of climate change.”
“Climate-related disasters and other types of shocks are a main threat to food security,” said Mr. Marc-André Prost, WFP Representative and Country Director. “It is our joint priority to make communities resilient to shocks. Disaster preparedness and community resilience are key to maintaining progress on countering food insecurity. WFP is happy to continue the successful partnership needed to reach these goals.”
Families in the 40 target villages will participate in consultations to define their needs to increase their resilience. The communities will engage in the construction or rehabilitation of community structures, which will contribute to their long-term food security and resilience, while receiving cash-based transfers to bridge food gaps in between harvest seasons. Vulnerable communities will also receive livelihoods and disaster preparedness training aimed at making those communities more resilient to climate shocks.
See highlights from the event here.