Tacloban continues getting help from UN, other groups

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TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Over three months since this city was pummeled by Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” it continues to get assistance from the United Nations and other international aid groups.

This week alone, two officials, one from the United Nations and the other from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), came to the city to check on the rehabilitation efforts of Tacloban.

Laura Thompson, deputy director general of the IOM, was in the city that is considered to be the ground zero of Yolanda.

Thompson said the recovery phase was one of their priorities although finding funds for this would be difficult.

“We have to find funds for a longer-time response. But this is always the most difficult part. The immediate response is very often easier to find funds for than the larger part because, obviously, the international community has very limited funds and those funds move from emergency to emergency because the world does not stop here,” she explained.

According to Thompson, the IOM did not have a budget of their own and depended only on their traditional donors for emergency responses and specific activities.

“In terms of money, we (IOM) have $17 million, with a pipeline of another $16 million,” she disclosed. Thompson said the donors were the United Nations, the United States and the European Union, among others.

“We have distributed 63,863 emergency shelters, 95,639 nonfood items, 7,895 shelter repair kits, 10,464 individuals’ kits for construction, among others,” she added.

Thompson said their organization would continue to be in Tacloban City, “so long as we are needed and the government needs us.”

On Feb. 26, Valerie Amos, undersecretary general of the United Nations for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, visited Tacloban City and Guiuan town in Eastern Samar province.

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