Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and government relief official lead donor mission

Dec 13, 2013

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Luiza Carvalho and DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman and donors meet with community leaders of Ormoc, one of the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. (Photo: OCHA/Gemma Cortes)

Humanitarian early recovery needs remain great in Tacloban, Guiuan and Ormoc

Manila - Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman and United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Luiza Carvalho jointly led a mission yesterday to areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) to show donors first-hand the progress in the response and ongoing urgent needs almost five weeks after the disaster struck the Visayas region of the Philippines on 8 November.

"Yesterday in Tacloban, Guiuan and Ormoc we saw the enormity of the destruction that communities in the path of the storm endured. We also saw the great progress that has been made in providing people with food and shelter, and other critical assistance. But the needs remain enormous," said Ms. Carvalho.

The mission included representatives of the Embassies of Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, and representatives of the Philippines Disaster Recovery Foundation. In and around Tacloban, they visited Palo Central school, where the UN and partners provided temporary learning center that was filled with childrens singing carols for the visitors, the DSWD operations center for Eastern Visayas region, the logistics hub for aid flowing in the area and Barangay 88, a neighborhood where local leaders said 1,000 people died in the storm.

Secretary Soliman said that in Eastern Visayas region, 420,000 homes wwere completely destroyed and another 200,000 were damaged, leaving 280,000 families displaced. "The massive relief effort in the region has included the distribution of three million bags of food," she said. "We are grateful for the solidarity and support donors have provided. We need this to continue." More than 1.1 million homes were partially or totally destroyed by the typhoon and four million people were displaced. Over three million people received food assistance within 10 days of the disaster.

In Guiuan, the delegation saw emergency shelter for families whose homes were wiped out by the storm surge. "I was encouraged to hear that just over a month after the disaster, the communities and authorities in Guiuan were engaged in searching for durable shelter solutions for the displaced families," Ms. Carvalho said. "We will also need to prioritize support to help people rebuild their livelihoods."

In Ormoc, the mission saw a crew clear debris from a schoolyard, just one example of the cash-for-work opportunities taht are being provided in the aftermath of the typhoon. "The cash-fr-work schemes pump money into the local economies for the benefit of everyone," said Ms. Carvalho.

Donors said that they were impressed by the ongoing relief efforts and the constructive relationships between the local and international actors. They said that detailed plans to address people's needs would help them to provide further funding. The Humanitarian Community in the Philippines is finalizing its 12-month Strategic Response Plan. It is designed to closely complement the Government's Yolanda Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (YRRP), which is expected to be launched on 18 December.

For further information, please contact:

Órla Fagan, Public Information Officer, Philippines, +63 9166 364248,
Russell Geekie, Public Information Officer, Tacloban, Philippines + 63 90278987513  
Gemma Cortes, Public Information Officer, Tacloban, Philippines + 63 9276008974,
For more information about Typhoon Haiyan please see: http://philippines.humanitarianresponse/info

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