Yolanda victims need more help – UN exec

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There has been a significant progress in the lives of survivors of typhoon Yolanda but the United Nations (UN) believes that more should be done for them.

UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos on Thursday said the victims have started to build back but they need housing and livelihood.

Amos, the agency’s secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, briefed reporters a day after she visited Tacloban City and Guian in Samar province for the third time.

Amos said there is “significant progress” in the affected areas, but she highlighted the need and importance of long-term viable and sustainable housing.


“In [a]disaster like this, there is always more we can do. The environment, as you know, is extremely [challenging]. Some people lost absolutely everything,” she said.

“There’s always more that can be done. We should all be very well aware. Huge amount of support is needed,” she added.

Amos cannot put a time scale to the establishment of permanent shelters in the areas affected because there are factors that should be considered such as land rights, the location for the new homes and the communities that will be affected.

Right now, the UN is looking at providing temporary shelters for the people affected “which can be a bridge between what people have now and when the longer-term housing solution are put in place.”

The UN partner agencies and even the private sector have built temporary shelters for the typhoon victims.

Amos noted that most of the times, people do not want to move away from where their original homes were built despite the threat of typhoons. During her visit to the affected areas, the UN official reported seeing people building structured where their original homes once stood.

“This is not good enough,” Amos said, adding people living near the shoreline are vulnerable to typhoons and storm surges.

“All of these processes take time. What we are focusing on while those [are being discussed], are finding solutions that bridge the gap between what happens in longer term and what people have now.”

She said the UN has raised 46 percent of the $788 million appeal made by the UN in December.

Aside from the contributions from the international community, Amos also noted that “considerable resources” have been committed for Yolanda response outside of the agency’s appeal.

She noted that a trust fund, in partnership with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, may be set up for the restoration of the affected areas.

About 6,300 people were left dead by Yolanda when it hit eastern Visayas on November 8 last year.

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