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New Zealand, Australia beef up support for Marawi rehabilitation

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A SOLDIER stands guard as residents run toward a truck after they were rescued from their homes in a village on the outskirts of Marawi on May 31, 2017, a year ago today. — AFP

NEW ZEALAND Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan said Mindanao is a growing priority of the New Zealand Aid Programme as he announced an additional P18-million fund for humanitarian assistance in Marawi City through the World Food Programme. In November last year, New Zealand allocated P126 million to support agricultural livelihoods in Mindanao through the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Mr. Strachan made the announcement in Davao City during Tuesday’s inauguration dinner for newly-appointed New Zealand Honorary Consul for Mindanao Vicente T. Lao. Meanwhile, the FAO announced also on Tuesday that it has partnered with the Community and Family Services International (CFSI) for an agriculture-based livelihood assistance initiative for Marawi residents. In a statement, FAO said the support for enhancing agri-based livelihoods of internally displaced farmers is part of a broader P100-million package of assistance funded by the Australian government and being implemented by CFSI. “FAO welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the Australian Government and CFSI to support rebuilding Marawi. The complex, varied and dynamic situation in conflict-affected areas in Lanao del Sur requires area-specific responses,” FAO Representative in the Philippines José Luis Fernandez said. — Maya M. Padillo

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