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Thousands of DSWD food packs for Yolanda relief lost to spoilage – COA


Thousands of food packs worth millions of pesos that could have helped Typhoon Yolanda's victims were instead lost to spoilage, the Commission on Audit special report on Yolanda relief operations concluded.

According to the report, which was posted on the COA website, some 7,527 family food packs worth P2.7 million; 95,472 assorted canned goods; 81 packs of noodles; and, 21 sacks of rice went to waste due to improper handling in Yolanda devastated areas, particularly in Central and Eastern Visayas.

The COA report blamed the losses on the lack of coordination between government agencies, which caused delays in the distribution of goods.

"Procured supplies intended for relief operations have not been fully delivered by the suppliers due to logistical gaps, such as lack of storage facility while awaiting repacking and eventual transport to affected areas and lack of delivery trucks," the report read.

Warehousing the donations and relief goods at the National Relief Operations Center also created a "logistical nightmare" for the DSWD, the state auditors added.

Further, the disposal of damaged goods and dented canned goods, which were excluded from food packs, were also not accounted for.

"Relief distribution operations did not provide daily and periodic reporting on the results/status of its operations as well as accounting of funds received and its utilization given the huge funding, defeating the purpose of pinpointing responsibility and promoting accountability and transparency," the COA reported.

Aside from rotten relief goods, the COA report also revealed that some P700 million in donations from local sources and $15 million (about P699 million) remained unspent as of 31 December 2013.

Furthermore, the state auditors pointed to the government's poor disaster response system as the reason for the difficulties in the relief operations in affected areas.

Instances of spoilage

Meanwhile, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secreatry Corazon "Dinky" Soliman admitted to GMA News Online Sunday evening that “there were instances of spoilage of goods."

Soliman maintained that the spoilage was due to warehousing and transportation problems.

An earlier report said that truckloads of expired and spoiled relief goods were dumped and buried in an open dumpsite in Palo town, Leyte.

However, Soliman had denied this, explaining that what was dumped was a sack of assorted biscuits, 10 cups of instant noodles, and a half sack of rice.

Typhoon Yolanda barreled across the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, killing 6,300 people, leaving thousands homeless, and millions displaced. — DVM, GMA News
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