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Int’l body pledges support for Yolanda rehab effort

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AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The International Organization on Migration has promised to continue support for the Philippine government amid ongoing reconstruction efforts in provinces devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda more than two months ago, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The DFA said IOM Director-General William “Bill” Swing gave the assurance to Ambassador Cecilia Rebong, the Philippines’ permanent representative in the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, during the latter’s call on the migration official on Jan. 10.

“Director General Swing assured Ambassador Rebong of the continued support of IOM for the Philippine government as it focuses on sustainable rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts and in drawing important lessons on post-disaster response which could be shared with the international community,” the DFA said in a statement this weekend.

The foreign office said Swing lauded the government “for its quick and comprehensive disaster-management response in the wake of Yolanda,” with its implementation of systematic cluster-based approach, along with the United Nations.

Swing said the coordination “could not have worked better, given the extent of damage to lives and property, without the strongly coordinated action and leadership demonstrated by the Philippine Government,” according to the DFA.

During the meeting, Rebong affirmed the Philippine government’s commitment to “building back better communities” in Visayas provinces affected by the Nov. 8, 2013 typhoon. The typhoon left widespread destruction across Central Philippines, affecting some 14 million people including more than 6,000 who were killed.

Rebong also conveyed the Philippines’ gratitude to IOM for its assistance in repatriation efforts in conflict-stricken countries in the Middle East and Africa, Syria among them. The IOM has been providing the Philippines chartered flights to bring home large batches of repatriates.

Meanwhile, international aid continued to arrive for Yolanda survivors, including Bahrain’s contribution of $1 million (about P43 million) for the effort.

The Bahrain Red Crescent Society (BRCS) made the pledge during a meeting with Philippine Ambassador to Bahrain Sahid Glang and General Raquel R. Solano at the BRCS office in Manama on Jan. 20. The Filipino officials paid BRCS a visit to give an update on post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation efforts, the DFA said.

“BRCS officials conveyed Bahrain’s commitment to provide funding assistance worth of US$1 million dollars for rehabilitation projects in the areas of health and education. It also requested inputs on tangible projects that would have a significant impact on the lives of the residents in the typhoon-affected areas,” the DFA said.

The UN recently renewed its call for international donors to continue supporting typhoon relief and recovery efforts in the Philippines, with only 42 percent of its $788-million funding appeal so far filled. The amount is programmed to support yearlong projects in typhoon-hit villages in the areas of shelter, food security, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihood, education and health.


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