Govt response wanting

UN, Marcos find ‘huge gap’ in Yolanda rehab delivery

There remains a ‘huge gap’ in the governments’ response in providing shelter and livelihood to the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Resident Coordinator Luiza Carvalho made this observation 100 days after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) slammed into Eastern Visayas on November 8 last year.

The same observation was made by Senator Bongbong Marcos who visited Tacloban City and nearby Palo in Leyte early Thursday.

Inspection tour. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,
chairman of the Senate’s public works committee,
and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez inspect
the allegedly substandard bunkhouses in Caibaan
village in Tacloban City intended for the victims of
super typhoon Yolanda. Marcos has instructed the
Department of Social Welfare to reduce its
requirements so that the victims could immediately
occupy the temporary houses. Ver Noveno
Marcos was accompanied by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

Marcos said that contrary to government reports, “the fact is there are still people living in tents, given that bunk houses are not yet finished.”

He added that ‘the bunk houses are not yet perfectly finished in a sense that some still don’t have water, and sanitary facilities.

Carvalho, meanwhile, said that aside from shelter, livelihood needs remained similarly enormous.

She cited the situation of a million of farmers in the Eastern Visayas region where more than 33-million coconut trees were damaged or destroyed by the typhoon.

Once replanted, these will take six to eight years to regrow to become fully productive. Nearly two-thirds of fishing communities lost their productive assets. More than 10,000 mainly small-scale fishing boats were lost or destroyed and 20,000 damaged” she said.

Similarly, Marcos said the government should immediately focus on livelihood assistance after the rehabilitation process.

“Livelihood assistance should be next. The people are ready to work and they are not only up for dole-outs. If we plan for their help, it should be a big project, like for one town or province,” Marcos said, adding he is looking forward to see the government’s “master plan.”

“I want to see the master plan. What is really the government’s plan in terms of rehabilitation?”

Marcos, however, said the areas devastated by the typhoon cannot immediately focus on livelihood because of the ‘slow’ phase of reconstruction.

“The phase of reconstruction is slow. We just want to make it faster,” he said, adding that “the greater worry after physical reconstruction is the economy,” said Marcos, who added that more than 40,000 families continue to live in tents and temporary shelters as they wait for the turnover of units.

“Remember, Tacloban is the economic and socio-political center of the region. If Tacloban is not functioning well, then it affects the rest of Leyte and Samar areas. It is a key part in rehabilitation process.”

“Everything here should be done “as quickly as possible,” he added.

Reiterating an earlier appeal by Romualdez, Marcos urged the national government to empower the affected local government units by channeling them funds for the program, saying “they know more” of the problem.

Meanwhile, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) for the Philippines is now prioritizing shelter and livelihoods programming, while continuing to assist the most vulnerable people with life-saving assistance and protection services, the UN statement said.

The support will cover the 12 months following the typhoon. It also complements the government’s multi-year reconstruction plan by focusing on the relief and early recovery phases of the response.

Of the $788 million required for Strategic Response Plan, 45 percent has been received, the UN said.

“Our achievements in the first 100 days of the response were made possible by generous donor contributions for the relief phase of our plan,” Carvalho said.

“The Filipino people in the affected areas deserve our continued support as they remain determined to recover in the face of immense obstacles and personal tragedy.”

Typhoon Yolanda devastated parts of eastern Visayas, especially Tacloban City, on November 8 last year.

It affected 14 million people, destroyed or severely damaged more than a million homes and impaired millions of people’s livelihoods.

The typhoon also caused the death of more than 6,000 people. With Ronald O. Reyes


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