AS the full impact of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) emerges, the United Nations (UN) on Friday called on the international community to provide more aid for the victims of the devastation.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Luiza Carvalho said families who lost their homes and livelihood will require sustained assistance to help them meet their daily needs.
“Providing shelter and rebuilding lives is an urgent priority. There are many needs in the aftermath of the typhoon and we require support to be able to put people back on their feet. Families require safety, shelter and work to sustain a decent life,” she stressed.
The UN also noted that farmers and fishermen were greatly affected as their source of living was imperiled by the typhoon.
Entire communities who depended on fishing for their daily income lost their boats and gear. Urgent intervention is required, including seeds, fertilizer and tools to rebuild the livelihood of farmers during the current planting season and beyond, Carvalho added.
“The farming communities need assistance for a successful harvest.
Farmers also need clean irrigation canals, which can be achieved through cash-for-work programs,” Rodrigue Vinet of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the cluster co-lead for food security and agriculture, said.
Shelter materials including tents and plastic sheeting are also needed to help with home reconstruction as more than 579,000 homes were completely destroyed and 1,104 evacuation centers are providing temporary shelter to more than 224,00 people.
“As people struggle to rebuild their lives, they require essential items such as construction material, mosquito nets, bed kits and solar lighting for safety,” International Organization for Migration (IOM) Marco Boasso, cluster co-lead for camp coordination and camp management, pointed out.
No harvest, no jobs
If farmers are unable to sow rice during the ongoing planting season, they will have no rice harvest in March and April next year and this will jeopardize household food security, nutrition and income generation, the UN said.
“Hundreds of thousands of families have lost everything. We will continue to prioritize their needs as they move in to a new year,” Carvalho said.
“We are thankful to the international community but require continued support in the days and months ahead.”
Meanwhile, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that half of the workers affected by the super typhoon were working in the service sector.
According to the latest ILO estimates, 2.8 million out of the 5.6 million workers who have either temporarily or permanently lost their livelihoods were working in the service sector.
Over one third or 1.8 million, were in agriculture, and around 15 percent in the industry sector.
ILO Philippine Office Director Lawrence Jeff Johnson said those in the service sector includes people working in shops, public markets, restaurants, vendors, tricycle and jeepney drivers, mechanics, clerks, and teachers among others.
“These people have lost the little they had to begin with. They have no home, no income, no savings and no one to turn to for help,” he said.
As the reconstruction efforts gather pace, Simon Hills, ILO’s Disaster Response and Livelihood Development Officer, said the number one priority is to ensure that these workers have access to decent jobs.
The Departments of Labor and Employment and Social Welfare and Development are rolling out emergency employment programs to respond to the enormous reconstruction and livelihood needs.
Workers under the emergency employment programs receive the minimum wage prevailing in the area and are employed for a minimum of 15 days. They also have access to social protection benefits.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in cooperation with the local government of Mandaue City will provide temporary shelter for evacuees who transferred to Cebu.
A 2-hectare land in Mandaue, Cebu will serve as a “tent city” for the displaced families. The PRC said the campsite can accommodate up to 100 families each having a tent for shelter.
The base camp or tent city will also have water and basic health facilities, an emergency response unit, and a place to conduct livelihood training for the evacuees.
“We have set up base camps in Cebu. These people need to have dignity.
And be able to take charge of their lives and be given the chance to rebuild their community,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon said.
Gordon also called for volunteers to help in the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Cebu, Leyte, Western Samar, Eastern Samar, Panay, IloIlo, Coron, Palawan, Northern Palawan and other Yolanda-stricken provinces.
On Thursday, another batch of 20 Japanese medical personnel arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to join the government’s emergency response in Tacloban, Leyte.
The group, members of the Japanese Disaster Relief Team, is comprised mainly of doctors, nurses and pharmacists and part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
They brought with them an estimated 200 kilos of assorted medicines particularly vaccines to prevent the outbreak of deadly diseases.
Japanese embassy officials said the group was the fourth Japanese medical team that arrived in Manila aboard Japan Airlines flight JL 741.
On the same day, around 15 members of the Tzu Chi Foundation from Taiwan also arrived in Manila, bringing with them instant rice, vegetarian noodles and assorted medicines.
Prior to this, a Tzu Chi assessment team who earlier arrived in Tacloban and Ormoc, provided a free clinic and aid distribution for local victims.
Also on Friday, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) director general Joel Villanueva said over 1,000 units of solar lights will be distributed to some affected communities.
The project, a joint venture between Tesda and My Shelter Foundation, aims to initially produce 1,300 solar night lights to be given to the provinces of Leyte and Samar, and select communities in the country’s poorest municipalities.
With reports from Benjie Vergara, Anthony Vargas and Neil Alcober