Five days after the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda in central Visayas, the International Labor Organization (ILO) launched an emergency employment and “cash-for-work” programs to rebuild communities and livelihoods there.
According to a statement from the organization, an estimate three million Filipinos lost their livelihoods in the wake of the typhoon.
“The loss of life and the scale of the destruction are heart-breaking, and there are millions of people in desperate conditions,” Guy Ryder, the ILO director-general, said.
“We’re working with government and social partners in the Philippines, and with our UN sister agencies, to help the communities affected by the tragedy and we call on the international community, and the public, to be generous in their support.”
Ryder specified that the immediate needs of the Filipinos in the affected areas are food, water, shelter and medical care. They also need to start rebuilding their lives, the official added.
As part of the $301 million flash appeal launched by the United Nations on Tuesday (Manila time), the ILO put in place emergency employment programs that will aid those who have lost their livelihoods either temporarily or permanently.
The disaster response program will focus on employment opportunities to help rebuild the community infrastructure, including local markets, roads, drainage and access paths and debris clearance.
It will also “create jobs and develop skills to facilitate the construction of emergency shelters, and extend social protection to those employed, including a minimum wage and health and accident insurance.”
The ILO said that “some” of the affected people may not be able to return to their previous work because of the disaster.
Of the number of affected workers, 44 percent are vulnerable workers–mostly subsistence farmers, fishermen and informal economy operators.
“Much of the livelihood infrastructure, such as farm-to-market roads, fishing boat landing sites and field irrigation has been destroyed or blocked with debris and requires urgent reconstruction or rehabilitation,” the ILO said.
The organization also extended their “deepest sympathies” and their “solidarity” to the victims of the typhoon.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the damage the typhoon has inflicted on the people and the country. The scale of the destruction, and the suffering, is truly shocking.”
BERNICE CAMILLE BAUZON