UNDP supports typhoon recovery and resilience in the Visayas

Cash-for-work beneficiariesLilibeth (center) and the rest of the cash-for-work crew at the Santo Nino dumpsite in Tacloban City, the Philippines. More than 42,000 people– almost 35 percent of whom are women-- have secured temporary jobs in UNDP’s early recovery programme in the Visayas. (Photo: Lelsley Wright / UNDP)


In the early morning of 8 November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (locally known Yolanda), made landfall in the eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. With winds up to 250 kph sweeping through the region, accompanied by a storm surge of up to 5m, the typhoon caused wide spread damage and losses. As of 28 January 2014, 6,201 people were reported killed and 1,785 were missing. Along the north-west trajectory of the typhoon, a total of 14.1 million people across nine of the country’s poorest provinces were affected. More than 1.1 m houses were destroyed. The eastern coasts of Samar, Eastern Samar and Leyte were among the worst affected. The city of Tacloban, the fifth fastest growing urban center in the country, recorded the highest loss of lives and property.

The national government, the local government units, national and international NGOs, relief teams from more than 20 countries, and the UN launched a large humanitarian response to the disaster. Although the affected communities have already begun their own recovery efforts with the limited resources available, the magnitude of the disaster is so severe that it will take several years for them to recover fully.

UNDP is working closely with the Government of the Philippines – at the national, provincial and local government levels – to support these recovery efforts.

Our Recovery Programme

UNDP’s programme in support to Typhoon Yolanda Recovery and Resilience in the Visayas region (TRRV) takes into account differential impacts, vulnerabilities and capacities across the affected region and articulates an area-based approach around four programming hubs: Tacloban, Guiuan, Ormoc, and Roxas. It aims to meet some of the immediate early recovery needs of the affected people and to assist with critical recovery interventions to support the country in transitioning from early recovery to rehabilitation, while creating conditions for long-term recovery, resilience and sustainable development.

The programme builds on prior UNDP engagement and partnerships in the affected areas, including extensive work on debris/ solid waste management, disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, support to local governance, rural development and environmental resilience and sustainability. It takes into account the high level of decentralization in the country, the opportunity to partner with an active civil society and the private sector, and the critical role of central line departments in emergency response and recovery.

This three-year programme framework revolves around the following main thematic pillars:

  • Governance: The programme will support coordination arrangements at both national and local levels. Restoration of operational capacity of Local Government Units (LGUs) to manage recovery efforts is a key area of emphasis. The programme will assist LGUs in strengthening accountability and transparency mechanisms for recovery. Recovery Resource Centres (RRCs) in five programming hubs will provide a coordination and communication platform that will bring together the LGUs, line departments, affected communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector and the international organizations. The programme will also assist communities in accessing basic services such as solid waste collection and support for recovery.       
  • Livelihoods: Restoring livelihoods and helping people start rebuilding their lives is at the heart of this framework. This will be done through immediate support in the form of cash for work for debris clearance incorporating recovery/recycling. Immediate assistance will be complemented by support to livelihood diversification efforts such as inclusive market development, value-chain development and development of a competitiveness strategy. Over the medium term, the programme will help develop policies for moving the priority sectors toward sustained growth and expanding the value addition that accrues to typhoon-affected people and enterprise.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Environment: The programme will focus on improving the early warning systems, emergency preparedness and response capacities in the Visayas. Support will be provided to mainstream disaster risk reduction in key sectors of recovery as well as development planning. A key element of the programme is support to restoration of critical ecosystem services and ecological assets.

The TRRV will contribute to the Government’s Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY). UNDP’s programme will cover a subset of priority municipalities identified under the Yolanda “corridor” or “avenue” by the government. The implementation of activities included under this framework will require US$ 65 million.

Our Results

Highlights of our results as of May 2014:

  • Through emergency employment and heavy equipment, typhoon debris have been cleared, over 500,000 cubic metres in Tacloban alone, enabling the recovery of 15 hospitals, 744 schools, 620 daycare centers, 622 municipal buildings, municipal and barangay roads spanning 1,746 kilometers, drainage spanning 970 kilometers and other essential infrastructure like clinics, bridges, churches and gymnasiums (over 600).
  • 42,168 people have secured temporary jobs in UNDP’s early recovery programme in the Visayas – almost 35 percent are women.
  • UNDP provides technical and financial support to Tacloban’s city dumpsite, Santo Nino, which has improved its operations and minimized environmental damage associated with emergency disposal resulting from the typhoon. UNDP has also helped Ormoc City to improve landfill operations at its municipal facility.
  • The development of the Strategic Priorities for Recovery and Disaster Preparedness of Samar Province, with technical support from UNDP, enables local governments to access national recovery funding support and also facilitates learning from Haiyan to increase resilience in the face of future hazards.
  • With the provision of six mobile saw mills, funds for emergency employment, and partnership building between coconut farmer co-operatives, the Philippine Coconut Authority and international agencies and NGOs, UNDP is tackling the time-sensitive issue of recovering as many of the damaged coconut trees as possible in western Leyte and Capiz. This project begins in the farmers’ fields with collection and transportation support, straight through to the processing and distribution of the lumber back into the open market, shelter programmes, and into the hands of the farmers who lost their livelihoods from the typhoon.

Our Stories


Haime tallies trucks hauling debris at Santo Nino. More than 42,000 people– almost 35 percent of whom are women-- have secured temporary jobs in UNDP’s early recovery programme in the Visayas. (Photo: Lesley Wright / UNDP)
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