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Neda: More needs to be done to aid ‘Yolanda’ victims

/ 05:49 AM September 21, 2015

More work, especially in housing and resettlement, is needed to rebuild and rehabilitate areas in the Visayas that were flattened by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” nearly two years ago, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said on Sunday.

In a statement, Neda Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan nonetheless said there had been progress in government-led reconstruction and rehabilitation initiatives.

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“As the visiting UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, observed, there is encouraging progress in rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts on the ground. I saw this for myself when I visited Yolanda-affected areas in July,” said Balisacan, also the economic planning secretary.

The Neda noted that Wahlström was recently quoted by a wire report as saying that: “If you go there (Yolanda-hit areas) now, you will already see important changes. If you go there in another two years and it (recovery) continues at the same pace, it will be very visibly a new place.”

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The Neda said that as of mid-August, 717,404 families had been granted emergency shelter assistance by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, while the Commission on Higher Education had rebuilt 358 of the 361 state university buildings damaged by Yolanda.

Also, the Department of Labor and Employment’s emergency employment and integrated livelihood programs had benefited 82,772 persons; the Department of Agriculture’s cash for work program employed 78,840; the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources gave fishing boats to 46,719 fisherfolk; while the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s livelihood and vocational training was availed of by 31,130, according to the Neda.

However, Balisacan said, “much work remains to be done, especially in the resettlement of people who had been displaced by the typhoon.”

“To date, only 11,247 houses have been constructed and 73,442 are under construction,” he said. Ben O. de Vera

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TAGS: Arsenio Balisacan, Margareta Wahlstrom, NEDA, Supertyphoon Yolanda, Yolanda aid
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