• ADB: ‘Business slowly rebounds’ in Yolanda-hit areas


    Manila-based multilateral Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Friday that business activity in Visayas, which was hit by Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), has been resuming slowly after more than two months when the super typhoon hit the region.

    In a statement, ADB said that improvements such as business entities teaming up for a unified mobile phone charging system service and selling of flashlights were observed.

    “In downtown Tacloban, the market is back in full swing, with people buying their daily necessities from vendors using makeshift stands,” the ADB said, citing that developments in the business environment in the region is getting “very brisk.”

    “Shoppers are lining up waiting for their turn to get into some malls and drug stores that are back in business, with police and security guards on hand to ensure order,” the multilateral added.

    On the rural side of Visayas which was also hit by Yolanda, farmers already planted coconut seeds and other crops but sites the long duration of harvest period as it takes 10 years for the coconut seeds to grow and yield harvests.

    Coconut plantations near Tacloban had 90 percent of their trees damaged by the typhoon.

    Though challenges arise in livelihoods, the ADB said that people in the affected areas were strong willed to improve as they don’t wait for government’s aid, but were starting livelihood and businesses amongst themselves.

    “We can’t wait for support from the government. We have to start where we can. We have to rise up,” a resident of Tacloban said.

    Also with schools reopening their classes by January 6, students and their families were reportedly still using evacuation centers, but hotels were also resuming partial operations, according to ADB.

    The ADB said that given the damage of the typhoon brought to families and their houses, international non-government organizations were very keen on helping families to build and repair their homes as the reconstruction of Yolanda-hit areas resume.

    “Now that the stage of providing food and other immediate relief goods is almost over, we are planning to provide timber and other construction materials,” said Mana Abe of NGO ICAN Foundation, a Japanese non-government organization included in helping rebuilding homes for Yolanda victims.

    “We are just awaiting a decision by the government on how people at the centers can be moved to temporary houses in an orderly way,” said Alice Viason, Department of Social Welfare and Development head of relief operations at the Astrodome, which is the largest evacuation site in Tacloban.

    At present, ADB said that there are about 2,000 people who are temporarily settling at the Astrodome with about 20 pregnant women and over 1,000 children. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO




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