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MANILA, Philippines – The budget department announced on Monday, February 10, that it had released a total of P17.69 billion has already been released since December for the recovery and rehabilitation of communities devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
One of the world’s strongest typhoons, Yolanda left 6,201 dead and 28,626 injured, while 1,785 persons are still missing. As of January 29, the latest report by the national disaster response body, 1.14 million houses were damaged across several regions, and 3.4 million families have been affected. Total damage to both property and livelihood is estimated to be at P39.8 billion.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said among the significant releases from the P17.7 billion were the following:
“One of the more critical components in long-term rehabilitation is the provision of adequate shelter assistance, particularly to families whose houses were formerly situated in high-risk, disaster prone areas. Several of those who unfortunately perished during the super typhoon were living in very vulnerable areas. We want to prevent future calamities from reaching the scale of Yolanda’s tragic aftermath by rebuilding communities on safer ground,” Abad said.
Beneficiaries of the assistance for permanent housing will be determined with the help of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. These are families that used to live in areas wiped out by storm surges, and which government scientists have since classified as no-build zones.
The budget chief also said: “Some of the more crucial releases we made were directed towards the restoration of basic public services, such as the rebuilding of power generation, distribution, and transmission systems, as well as the reestablishment of clean water supplies. The restoration of these services was especially time-sensitive, as the continued well-being of survivors were especially dependent on how quickly we could bring the power and water supply back up.”
Besides the P17.7 billion released for various infrastructure and services to the communities, the budget department also rolled out a total of P3.1 billion in December for the immediate rehabilitation of the severely damaged Tacloban Airport in Leyte.
“The extent to which the typhoon struck down economic activity in several parts of the Visayas will have serious implications on the country’s growth agenda, far beyond the limits of Yolanda’s destructive path,” Abad said, so these will be addressed in the public expenditure in 2014.
“The rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas ravaged by Yolanda is already well-accounted for in the Philippine Development Plan, which is the administration’s medium-term strategy for bringing inclusive development to the country,” he said. – Rappler.com
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