Finding new solutions in the Typhoon Haiyan recovery

Feb 28, 2014

Barangay 89: UN Resident Coordinator for the Philippines, Luiza Carvalho, marvels at local Tacloban construction skills as a group of men rebuild fishing boats. (Photo: UNDP)

Early recovery appears to be in full swing in Typhoon Haiyan-affected areas after almost four months of intensive humanitarian aid but according to UN officials, the progress must be maintained to prevent further harm to the most vulnerable. 

UN Resident Coordinator, Luiza Carvalho joined Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator to visit Guiuan and Tacloban and met with those most affected by the super typhoon.

“Millions of people still require urgent assistance to rebuild their lives and livelihoods, and ensure that the gains that we have made thus far are not rolled back,” Ms Amos said.

“Many in communities that were devastated are only now at the beginning of the difficult process of recovery.”

One of the stops on their tour included a carpentry demonstration in Tacloban’s Fisherman’s Village where over 1,000 people died during the storm. With the debris largely out of the way, village residents are seeking livelihoods support, one of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) pillar efforts.

“Today we saw the example of developing a food counter made with coconut and it’s a project together with the private sector because it will be a micro-financing institution, so it’s a combination of solutions,” Ms Carvalho said.

Over the next few months, UNDP will scale up its efforts in helping rebuild livelihoods of many of whom were left vulnerable with the storm’s ferocity. The coconut industry, for example, was wiped out with around 33 million damaged or destroyed trees in Eastern Visayas. The anticipation is that it will take at least five years before farming can start to reap regrowth benefits, but it’s the gap in the meantime that concerns UNDP.

This is something that cannot be shouldered by only one agency or government ministry. Cooperation is required, according to Ms Carvalho.

“Now what we notice more and more is that we find connectivity among the agencies, among the government, among the private sector,” she said.


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