PH Red Cross pioneering food trucks as essential disaster preparedness assets

After the impact of a natural or human-induced hazard, people often lose access to their usual sources of food; this is when the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) deploys its food trucks, dubbed “Hot Meals on Wheels,” to communities within 24 hours after a disaster’s impact to meet displaced people’s need for nutrition and sustenance. The PRC has 35 food trucks across the country, strategically positioned and ready to be deployed in times of crisis.

PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon explained that donors’ and local government units’ actions are proof that the availability and accessibility of food trucks are among the essential disaster preparedness measures. “Food trucks bring not just hot meals but also comfort and a sense of community among people in crisis. Our donors see the importance of food trucks, that is why we have been able to expand our fleet of food trucks. And now some local government units, following our lead, have bought food trucks as a disaster preparedness measure,” Gordon elaborated.

As tropical cyclone Betty (international name: Mawar) approaches the extreme northern part of the country, Gordon assured the public that PRC chapters in the typhoon’s path are ready to respond with food trucks, along with other PRC disaster response equipment, such as amphibians, rescue boats, ambulance units, 6×6 trucks, payloaders, and water tankers. “We are a disaster-prone country, so the Philippine Red Cross is always ready,” Gordon explained matter-of-factly.

“As of today, two PRC water tankers are prepositioned in Nueva Vizcaya and Olongapo to respond to the provinces in Northern Luzon that are expected to be affected by Typhoon Betty. Relief items, such as tarpaulins, sleeping kits, food packs, and water containers are also prepositioned in PRC warehouses in Subic,” PRC Secretary General Dr. Gwen Pang added.

Chairman Gordon also called on the people to follow government-mandated pre-emptive evacuation protocols, to save themselves, “Huwag na kayo magpabigat. Instead, volunteer to help with the Red Cross as we are strengthening our community-based volunteers,” he said, referring to the PRC’s RedCross 143 program, which is part of the disaster response efforts of the organization to complement its extensive array of logistics and its 24/7 Operations Center.

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