ICRC says more effort needed for Samar rehabilitation

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THE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Wednesday said more effort is needed to rehabilitate areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda in Samar.

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ICRC President Peter Maurer, who visited the headquarters of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in Manila, said total recovery of the Yolanda-affected areas in Samar has not been achieved.

“There is still a lot to do. We are very much aware that we haven’t come out of the tunnel. We are still in the middle, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel and that is the good news,” Maurer said.

But he said the ICRC and the PRC both agree that they have to redouble all efforts to revive Yolanda-hit areas and to serve more people.

Maurer joined PRC Chairman Richard Gordon in Samar on Monday to assess the rehabilitation status of the affected areas.

“I think Richard Gordon and myself, we are in full agreement that we have to redouble the efforts [so]that we have to be faster, quicker [and]to serve more people in the days, weeks and months to come and I’m sure we are able to do it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maurer noted that there is a “huge change” in terms of the recovery of the people in the areas affected in Samar.

He said that he was “encouraged” to see the resiliency and the hardwork of the people to initiate the recovery by themselves.

“Well at first, I was really encouraged, I must say, I’m travelling a lot of places in the world and I was encouraged to see what has been achieved in ten months. I go to many other places where in ten months the situation is still the same from the time when the disaster struck, and here it was a huge change, an important change and I think it’s because we are working together so well with the PRC and the ICRC, that we had an impact,” he said.

“I was also very encouraged to see the resilience of the people and the hard-work of the people themselves. I mean, it’s heart breaking to see what happened to them and how they did not lose hope in trying to reconstitute their lives,” he added.

Gordon said the ICRC is going to build 4,500 houses and so far, 2,100 have been finished.

“We have health centers [and]hospitals, everything is there,” Gordon said.

Meanwhile, Maurer said his Philippine visit was not only because of the natural disaster but also for a long standing dialogue with the government for the implementation of humanitarian law.

“We are active in detention here in the Philippines we are active in the Armed Forces [of the Philippines], with the police officers. I can say that I am very happy to see the commitment of the government of the Philippines to uphold the values of the international humanitarian law and ICRC is committed to the Philippines to further give strength of important framework today,” said Maurer, who toured the PRC headquarters in Manila with Gordon.

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