One Month After: Building Back Sustainably

Dec 8, 2013

A young man sweeps out a chapel in Tacloban's Barangay (village) 88. A UNDP cash-for-work scheme is employing hundreds of people across the city to clear the masses of debris left by Typhoon Haiyan. (Photo: OCHA/Jose Reyna)

Statement of UNDP Country Director Toshihiro Tanaka one month after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

One month ago, Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made landfall in the Philippines and changed the lives of 15 million people.

Cities and villages were destroyed; farms were flooded; houses, schools and hospitals collapsed under the unprecedented force of the super storm.

Lives were lost, families were separated; four million people left their communities to seek safety elsewhere.

In Tacloban, in Roxas, and in other affected areas, it was inspiring to see everyone pitching in to pick up the pieces.

It will take time to rebuild the devastated neighborhoods, schools and hospitals, but communities, Government agencies, and international organizations are movingforward.

UNDP is part of the effort to create conditions for long-term recovery.

We are managing emergency employment cash-for-work programmes; bringing policy advisors from countries which have gone through similar experiences; and raising funds for early recovery activities.

We have opened six field offices to better serve the affected communities in Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Panay and Palawan.

For a start, there are 405 women and men in cash-for-work teams operating in ten locations. They are clearing debris from neighborhoods and critical public facilities such as hospitals and schools.

The goal is to expand and to engage 10,000 people in emergency employment by the end of the year in a wide range of early recovery efforts.

We assessed a wide area of damage along the coastline of Leyte and Samar and are working with several municipalities, including in Tacloban, on debris and waste management, and devising strategies for recycling timber into housing material.

We are here for the long haul and will continue to engage with local communities, humanitarian and development partners, civil society and private sector, under the leadership of the Government in helping to meet the most immediate recovery needs.

We mobilized US$ 12 million for emergency employment and enterprise recovery, as well as debris management and community infrastructure rehabilitation.

We are only at the beginning of this road to recovery which must also be the road to sustainability.

An additional US$ 36 million is still needed to build back more resilient, sustainable, thriving communities able to withstand and be prepared for future typhoons.

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