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Russia Supports Community Resilience in Lao PDR

(KPL) In-kind food contributions from Russia arrived in Laos this week, bound to bridge gaps in food security caused by climate change impacts for communities in the northern provinces of the Lao PDR.

The Ambassador of Russia to the Lao PDR Vladimir Kalinin received the food commodities at the World Food Programme’s (WFP) warehouse on March 3, 2020.

As a new partner to WFP, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations is providing over US$ 1 million to WFP.

With the contribution, WFP is purchasing cooking oil, canned fish and construction materials. The commodities will benefit approximately 27,500 villagers in target villages in Northern Lao PDR who are suffering from the compounding effects of floods, droughts and pest outbreaks over the past two years.

WFP will use the newly arrived 36 metric tons of oil and the subsequent shipment of approx. 110 metric tons of fish to help build, repair or improve community infrastructures including fish ponds, terrace farming, flood control and improved drainage, bridges and access roads. Villagers receive food in exchange for their labour, which helps them get through the lean season, at the same time improving their harvests and reducing risks and impact of climate shocks.

Resilience to natural disasters over time is strengthened with the establishment of approx. 50 of such community assets. Part of the funds is used to provide building materials to the villagers for these projects. In addition, they will receive training on how to manage and maintain these structures and how to prepare for and respond to disasters.

In mid-2018, widespread flooding in the Lao PDR impacted a large segment of the population, of which 70% rely on farming for daily sustenance. Additional shocks such as rodent and pest outbreaks led to poor rice yields. Late rains, drought risks as well as flooding towards the end of 2019 created food insecurity for vulnerable communities in Northern Laos.

The present support from the Russian Federation is part of expanding relationships between the Lao PDR and Russia.

Ambassador Vladimir Kalinin said: The Russian Federation attaches great importance to providing humanitarian and disaster relief assistance to the most vulnerable regions of the world. Especially, in 2018 our country supplied more than 36 tons of basic commodities to the population affected by the devastating flooding of Attapeu province. The Russian Federation established reliable and efficient cooperation mechanism with WFP aimed at providing support to the communities in need. I am convinced that our recent contribution will allow thousands of villagers in Northern Laos to benefit from our joint efforts to fight against consequences of floods, droughts and other natural disasters.

Jan Delbaere, WFP Country Director and Representative stressed the importance of partnerships in support of communities in the Lao PDR: We have long years of experience both globally and in Laos with creating community assets to help the lives of most vulnerable communities. In partnership with the Government, WFP has supported 650 communities in building village infrastructure since 2013, benefitting over 280,000 residents. We are excited and thankful to partner with Russia and are hoping to build on this first joint endeavour to further help communities become more resilient to climate change.

Source: Lao News Agency