U.N. praises Filipino resilience a year after Haiyan tragedy
6 Nov 2014
Source: Kyodo News International
The United Nations chief representative in the Philippines on Thursday praised Filipinos' resilience in recovering from a super typhoon that devastated the country's central island's nearly a year ago.
"We are humbled by the extraordinary resilience of the Filipino people who, despite the unprecedented destruction and tragedy that struck, pushed through individually and collectively, and with generosity of spirit, to this point where recovery is well under way," Luiza Carvalho, the U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in the Philippines, said in a statement.
Packing winds of up to 235 kilometers per hour and inducing a tsunami-like storm surge, Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, swept the central Philippines on Nov. 8 last year, causing massive loss of lives and devastation of properties and infrastructure.
Official government data state that 6,300 people died, a little over 1,000 remain missing, and some 4.1 million people were displaced. The estimated cost of damages is 89.6 billion pesos (approximately $2 billion).
Carvalho assured the Philippines of continued U.N. support in the rehabilitation phase of recovery, which began in August after months of humanitarian-focused efforts.
"We recognize that 'building back better' will be a complex and long process, particularly the rehabilitation of human settlements and the restoration of livelihoods," she said, while noting that the government has "clearly outlined the work that lies ahead."
Philippine President Benigno Aquino approved the post-Haiyan rehabilitation master plan, which will require almost 170 billion pesos, in late October, and his officials say all projects under it are expected to be completed by 2016, his last year in office.
During the humanitarian phase, the United Nations provided food for some 3.7 million people; feeding counseling for 82,000 mothers; and, prenatal and postnatal care for 23,000 pregnant and lactating women.
It also rehabilitated water systems, benefiting almost 1 million people; provided new or rehabilitated latrines for the benefit of 350,000 people; and provided emergency shelters for 570,000 households.
The international agency also helped 162,000 households get emergency employment, and distributed agricultural seeds and tools to some 100,000 farmers. It built 4,900 temporary learning spaces and distributed learning materials for 545,000 students.