Typhoon damage hits P22.6 B

November 25, 2013 6:46 AM

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MANILA, Philippines - The amount of damage caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda continues to increase as the government prepares a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for the affected areas.

Agriculture and infrastructure damage caused by the cyclone has reached P22.66 billion, according to data released yesterday by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

The amount is expected to further increase as reports from field units come in.

“We are still waiting for the complete reports. What we got are the initial reports from the different government agencies. There is a possibility,” NDRRMC executive director Eduardo del Rosario said.

Infrastructure damage hit P11.96 billion while that of agriculture reached P10.7 billion.

As regards damage in the agriculture sector, crops accounted for P5.1 billion while livestock and fisheries accounted for P2.18 billion and P2 billion, respectively.

Yolanda also damaged P1.2 billion in agricultural infrastructure and P212.7 million worth of irrigation facilities. A total of 1.13 million houses have also been damaged.

State agencies are expected to present their respective rehabilitation plans to President Aquino by Wednesday.

Del Rosario said the rehabilitation plans would focus on resettlement, livelihood, commerce, and agriculture.

“The plan will be presented to him (Aquino) and that would be implemented immediately,” Del Rosario said.

“But even before that, as part of the early rehabilitation stage, the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), together with the LGUs (local government units) had identified already resettlement and relocation sites,” he added.

The details of the resettlement plan, Del Rosario said, are still being threshed out.

Economic managers have reduced the country’s growth forecast for this year to 6.5 percent from 7.3 percent due to the impact of the typhoon.

Sen. Loren Legarda, as chairperson of the Senate committees on climate change and environment and natural resources, said debris management should be given equal importance to prevent further disasters from the storm’s aftermath.

Along with efforts to provide food, shelter, medicine and new sources of livelihood for the storm survivors, Legarda said the government should also practice good debris management system.

“We need to clear out the debris in devastated communities so that restoring public services and rebuilding communities will be less difficult,” Legarda said.

Legarda said that the government could hire the survivors to work on clearing operations through the cash-for-work scheme.

The NDRRMC welcomed the World Bank’s decision to increase to almost $1 billion its total financial aid package for rehabilitation of typhoon-hit areas.

“It would be a big help if World Bank opens the facility. It provides a window of opportunity for us to get funds for the rehabilitation aspect,” Del Rosario said.

When asked whether the World Bank facility will be tapped, Del Rosario said it would depend on the policies of the government.

“Everything is open. If it is beyond the capacity or capability of the government, definitely the government will avail of that window of opportunity,” he said.

The World Bank’s $980-million package could be used for emergency response and could immediately support efforts to rebuild community-level or livelihood related infrastructure such as water, rural roads, schools and clinics.

“The project will empower communities themselves to lead the reconstruction effort, by offering a transparent way for people to identify their own needs,” the WB said in a statement.

Del Rosario said they have not set a timetable as to when agencies would shift to rehabilitation phase from relief and retrieval efforts.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is also stepping up efforts to rebuild birthing facilities in areas devastated by the typhoon to help save some 900 women giving birth each day in the storm-hit areas.

The UNFPA has earmarked P172 million ($4 million) to support the restoration of health services to restore life-saving maternal and newborn care, including emergency obstetrics care to ensure safe births.

Some 235,000 pregnant women were affected by the super typhoon, according to the UNFPA.

The monster storm also left 23,501 persons injured and 1,613 others missing.

Source: philstar.com

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