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DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Philippines vows to build back better 100 days after typhoon
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Feb 16, 2014


Huge needs remain 100 days after Philippines typhoon: UN
Manila (AFP) Feb 15, 2014 - The United Nations warned on Saturday that millions of survivors of the Philippines' deadliest typhoon were still without adequate shelter 100 days after the disaster.

"The authorities, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations, and the Filipino people should be commended for the pace of progress.... But we can not afford to be complacent," UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for the Philippines Luiza Carvalho said.

"The need for durable shelter for millions of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed is critical," she said in a statement.

Haiyan tore across the central islands on November 8 last year, killing 6,200 people and leaving nearly 2,000 others missing.

It also destroyed or severely damaged 1.1 million houses, leaving more than four million people homeless.

Carvalho said millions of jobs were also destroyed or impaired after Haiyan tore down or damaged 33 million coconut trees, flooded fields with salt water, and swept away or wrecked 30,000 fishing vessels.

Apart from addressing food and health needs, the international aid effort provided tents and tarpaulin shelters to half a million families, while emergency employment programmes pumped money into the devastated local economies, the UN said.

Many of the devastated areas rely on subsistence fishing and farming and are on the path of most of the 20 or so typhoons and storms that strike the Asian country each year.

"As the Philippines marks 100 days since the devastating super typhoon struck, our thoughts are very much with the survivors who mourn the loss of so many friends and loved ones," Carvalho said.

"We are supporting the authorities to help survivors find closure and ensure that the affected regions build back better and safer so that the next massive storm does not bring the terrible levels of devastation that we saw with Haiyan."

She said the UN has raised more than $300 million for the humanitarian effort this year that was expected to cost $788 million.

Priority would go to providing durable shelters and livelihoods, she added.

Abigail Valte, a spokeswoman for President Benigno Aquino, acknowledged Saturday that disaster aid "can never be fast enough" for the areas devastated by Haiyan.

"We continue to assure everybody that the national government agencies that are involved will continue to push for what needs to be done in the areas that have been hit," she said in an interview on government radio.

The Philippines vowed Sunday to "build back better" 100 days after its deadliest typhoon left thousands dead and millions without homes.

Acknowledging that huge gaps in rehabilitation remained despite progress in humanitarian work, the government urged all Filipinos and donor agencies to keep extending support to those still vulnerable.

"As we mark the 100th day after super typhoon Yolanda (local name of Haiyan), the government is firmly determined to carry out massive rehabilitation efforts in all 171 municipalities and cities affected by this unprecedented calamity," said presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma.

He said the disaster-prone country "must break the cycle of prediction, devastation and rehabilitation by adopting the principle of build back better" following the deadly storm.

Haiyan slammed into the central Visayas region on November 8 last year with winds of up to 315 kilometres (195 miles) an hour, triggering unprecedented destruction that left four million without homes.

It triggered huge tsunami-like storm surges that swallowed entire villages, killing at least 6,200 people with 2,000 others still missing.

The United Nations in a statement Sunday said that 100 days on, "needs remain enormous". It called on government and aid agencies not to be complacent and to find ways to house those still without roofs over their heads.

"The need for durable shelter for millions of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed is critical," said UN resident humanitarian coordinator Luiza Carvalho.

She said that 45 percent of the 788 million dollar appeal the UN had launched had already been received, and it had benefited hundreds of thousands.

Some half a million families had already received tents and tarpaulins for temporary shelters, while emergency jobs programmes helped put money in survivors' pockets and revive local economies.

Carvalho said millions of jobs were destroyed or impaired after Haiyan tore down or damaged 33 million coconut trees, flooded fields with salt water, and swept away or wrecked 30,000 fishing vessels.

Coloma said the hard work of responding to all the humanitarian challenges remained.

"We realise that despite its best efforts, government is unable to adequately respond to all the needs of all the affected families and individuals," Coloma said.

"We continue to welcome suggestions on how we can improve our response and assistance," he said, adding that reports of corruption in aid distribution would be swiftly dealt with.

strs-jvg/sm

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