THE United Nations (UN) on Monday vowed to continue helping victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda as it admitted that it will take years before their life will return to normal.
To help farmers in Eastern Visayas, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) distributed rice production packages that contained 40 kilograms of seeds to 44,000 farming families.
“These packages were in the hands of farmers in time for the planting season, distributed with our own trucks and staff, in close coordination with local governmental units at the community level,” José Graziano da Silva, director general of the UN FAO said.
“We are not simply giving seeds to farmers to ensure their next crop. We are, at the same time, planting the seeds that will allow them to retake control of their lives, regain their livelihoods and build their resilience,” he added.
Da Silva said the rice harvest this year will feed 800,000 people “for more than a year.”
It will also generate some income for families.
“We cannot avoid droughts or typhoons from happening. But we can put in place the capacity, the technology, the infrastructure, and the practices that will help reduce the impacts of extreme climatic events,” he said.
However, he admitted that the work of the UN is far from over.
Da Silva gave assurances that help for the victims will continue “so they can once again harvest the land and raise their cattle.”
“We will continue providing coconut farmers with alternative livelihoods while their newly replanted coconut trees become fully productive, which will take between 6 and 8 years.
We will continue to support fishing communities to recover through boat rebuilding and the provision of key fishing inputs,” he said.
Based on the UN report, more than 14 million people were affected by the typhoon and damage to agriculture was huge.
“In region eight alone, 33 million coconut trees were damaged or destroyed,” da Silva noted.
Entire fishing communities were wiped away, millions of livelihoods were lost and an estimated 30,000 fishing vessels were damaged or destroyed, he said in his speech before Yolanda survivors in Basey, Samar.
Children need help
The United Nations for Children’s Fund (Unicef), in its report entitled “Four Months After Typhoon Haiyan,” said a host of immediate risks looms especially for children, ranging from epidemic outbreaks, disruption and loss of access to learning, greater exposure to violence, exploitation and abuse and risks for both women and children of sliding into malnutrition.
The report said despite recovery efforts, there is an overwhelming reminder that much more needs to be done to restore devastated lives and communities.
The report also documented work in providing clean water to 930,000 people and the delivery of hygiene supplies to more than 231,000 children.
Unicef said it supported the reestablishment of a protective environment for affected children to help address the psychological damage caused by the disaster and reduce elevated risks of abuse and violence.