• Approval of ADB $500-M initial loan to Yolanda victims cleared

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    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is set to allot into action of rebuilding and rehabilitation of Typhoon Yolanda-stricken areas (international name: Haiyan) with ADB approving the $500-million loan to the Philippines on Friday.

    According to ADB President Takehiko Nakao, the $500-million now approved fund would go to immediate rebuilding efforts and assistance in the Visayas region.

    “A disaster of this magnitude can push families further into poverty. The speed of assistance is critical to ensure that loss of shelter, assets or livelihoods is only temporary, and quickly resolved with skills programs, income generating activities, and high-quality rehabilitation and reconstruction,” Nakao said.

    The ADB was closely working with the Department of Finance (DOF) in advancing the emergency support to be able to provide for Yolanda victims in record speed.

    The Manila-based multilateral said that the Philippines would be able to receive support from the fund in five priority areas initially laid by the government: Shelter and reconstruction; power restoration; livelihoods and employment; resettlement and psychosocial care; and environmental protection.

    The ADB said that aside from the $500-million fund they provided, other sources also contributed for immediate rebuilding budget that includes $3 million grant from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund and $20 million grant from Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, which would be ready for usage by mid-December.

    “As the government moves into rehabilitation and reconstruction phases…and to immediately supplement the first phase of support, we are designing a community-driven development project that will help rebuild communities and assist reconstruction in the affected areas,” said Stephen Groff, ADB vice president for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    According to the ADB, relief efforts would continue next year which would pose as a budget concern for the country—which was struck by 23 typhoons from January to October, as well as a 7.2-magnitude Bohol-Cebu earthquake.

    The Typhoon Yolanda Response Team put up by ADB would extend their “mission in one of the affected areas to support implementation” of their assistance, as well as two technical assistance projects that will help the government in implementing and monitoring the rehabilitation and reconstruction plan. AFP

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