Delivery of assistance to victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda was hampered by poor coordination between local authorities and the international community, British aid groups said on Tuesday.
A study of the aid delivery by five charities released in Manila a year after the storm struck found there had been a lack of communication between international aid providers, their local counterparts and the government.
“We missed coordination, we missed an opportunity to work together as a team . . . we missed an opportunity to take advantage of the capacity that we have among ourselves,” said Joyce Lacker, country manager of ActionAid, which co-authored the study with Oxfam, CAFOD, Christianaid and Tearfund.
Lacker blamed this partly on the unprecedented damage caused by the typhoon.
Although foreign and local assistance was quickly on the scene, problems soon emerged, representatives of local non-government organizations (NGOs) said at the launch of the report.
Local NGOs had difficulty meeting with the stringent reporting and accounting systems of the international groups while the government was overwhelmed as the typhoon had killed many of the rescuers trained to help with relief efforts during such disasters.
There were cases of duplication of efforts with large amounts of aid going to the same people while others were given nothing. This sparked “social tension” between people who had and had not received aid.
Despite these problems, the recovery from Yolanda had been relatively swift, David Carden, country director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said.
The government must engage international aid groups, local communities and NGOs to determine their roles when responding to disasters, he pointed out.
Malacañang also on Tuesday said the Philippines received a total of P199.48 billion in loans, grants and donations from foreign governments and agencies for the relief and rehabilitation of those affected by Yolanda“According to the consolidated data of the Department of Finance [DoF], the Philippines received a total of P199.48 billion in loans/grants/donations . . . , which was used for ‘rescue and relief’ and ‘reconstruction and rehabilitation phases of the areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
“The amount represents all aid that were coursed through the DoF and accounted for by the Bureau of Treasury,” he added.
Coloma explained that of the P199 billion, 85 percent or P169.48 billion was coursed through the various government agencies while the remaining P30 billion was channeled through NGOs.
“The DoF said that about 53 percent of the P199.48 billion or P106.41 billion has already been disbursed for the various programs, activities and projects within the Yolanda corridor,” he said.
In terms of sources, P126.18 billion (about 63 percent) came from foreign loans extended by multi-lateral lending institutions and development agencies such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the French Development Agency.