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Typhoon Haiyan-hit areas still need help, 6 months on

Six months after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, the government has yet to come up with a master plan to rehabilitate the areas affected. Private groups and civic organisations are trying to fill in the gaps, focusing on supporting the livelihoods of those affected.

MANILA: Six months after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, the government has yet to come up with a master plan to rehabilitate the areas affected.

As the government struggles to cope with the rehabilitation work, private groups and civic organisations are trying to fill in the gaps, focusing on supporting the livelihoods of those affected.

Various non-government organisations are now ramping up funding to help the more than 14 million Filipinos in the central Philippines that were affected by Haiyan.

According to the United Nations, nearly two-thirds of fishing communities lost their boats in the typhoon, with around 150,000 people deprived of their livelihood.

The NGOs’ current priority is to provide a better means for these fishing communities to earn a living.

Fishermen in Haiyan-hit areas will soon be catching fish in brand-new fiberglass boats, a big leap from the wooden bancas they used to have.

Johann Mangussad, operations manager at BP Technologies, said: ''There's a saying, give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish - you will feed him for a lifetime.

“We are giving a man a boat so he can fish for a lifetime. These boats can really last a lifetime. If properly taken cared for, fiberglass boats can last a lifetime.''

Proponents believe the fiberglass boats are a good alternative to wood, as the country's forests continue to be depleted.

Mangussad said: ''For you to be able to make a solid and traditional fishing boat here in the Philippines, you will need to cut down a large tree. So imagine how many trees you will be cutting down for one municipality of 10,000 fishermen.''

Six months after Haiyan, many communities are still in dire need of help.

More than 8,000 families whose homes were destroyed are still huddling in evacuation centres.

Amid criticism of the government's slow rehabilitation efforts, international humanitarian organisations said they will continue to undertake their own recovery plans.

Marcel Fortier, head of delegation to the Philippines at International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said: ''We know that the recovery is a long road. It will take several years. Our own Red Cross recovery program is designed for the next three years. And based on our experience, after three years, there will still be a lot of needs that will not be covered.''

The government said that the master plan for the rehabilitation of the 171 towns and cities affected will be drawn up by June. 

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