Filipinos struggle to rebuild their lives after Super Typhoon Haiyan
- POSTED: 27 Feb 2014 23:08
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United Nations Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has revisited typhoon-ravaged areas in the central Philippines, saying she is pleased with the progress of recovery efforts.
MANILA: United Nations Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has revisited typhoon-ravaged areas in the central Philippines, saying she is pleased with the progress of recovery efforts.
Despite the UN's global appeal, there are visible signs of thousands of people still in need of help and a lack of effective aid funding for the country.
More than 100 days have passed since Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, tore across the central Philippines leaving more than 6,000 people dead in its wake.
Picking up the pieces has been slow and difficult, but on a brief visit to the most badly-affected areas, including Guiuan and Tacloban, Ms Amos said she is impressed with the progress.
With around a million homes destroyed and more than 14 million Filipinos affected by the typhoon, she said providing permanent shelter and improving people's livelihoods are the most critical areas that need attention.
"Nearly two-thirds of fishing communities lost their productive assets with 10,000 mainly small-scale fishing boats lost or destroyed and 20,000 damaged. A million farmers were affected in the region when more than 33 million coconut trees were damaged and destroyed by the typhoon. We need to look at how to support those communities in the meantime," she said.
Ms Amos spoke of a large number of communities still in dire need of help - the tens of thousands of people still living in evacuation shelters or amongst disaster debris... their plight being prolonged and compounded by alleged government corruption and inaction.
So too are a sluggish supply of international aid - the UN has raised less than half of the money it appealed for worldwide.
Ms Amos said: "It took us two months to get 46 per cent. I think that's pretty good. And I will continue to press donors for more resources for that plan. Millions of people still require urgent assistance to rebuild their lives and livelihood, and ensure that the gains that we have made so far are not rolled back."
Yet, huge gaps in the rehabilitation process remain despite the UN's reported progress in humanitarian efforts.
The Philippines remains dangerously exposed to the elements and the many typhoons that hit its coastline every year.
It's a reality the government has repeatedly had difficulty dealing with.
Four million people are estimated to be still homeless, and the plans for new housing that will not be so exposed to the ravages of future storms appear grossly insufficient.
The United Nations will continue to push ahead with its appeal for help - and large contingents of aid workers remain tireless in their efforts - but it's clear rebuilding the Philippines will require much more.