News / Asia

After Philippines Typhoon, Housing, Jobs Remain Priority

FILE - A view of temporary shelters for typhoon survivors that were constructed next to a ship that ran aground is pictured nearly 100 days after super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Tacloban city in central Philippines, Feb. 14, 2014.
FILE - A view of temporary shelters for typhoon survivors that were constructed next to a ship that ran aground is pictured nearly 100 days after super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Tacloban city in central Philippines, Feb. 14, 2014.
Simone Orendain
Six months after the most powerful typhoon on record pummeled the central Philippines and left more than 6,200 people dead, officials say having regular work and a permanent home is still a priority for thousands of survivors.

Jessica Darantinao, a coconut farmer in northern Leyte province, says when super typhoon Haiyan rampaged its way through the central part of the country, the coconut trees she farmed were completely ruined.  These trees take at least four years to mature.
 
Darantinao told VOA in a phone interview, her family could no longer sell coconut kernels for making oil.  She says non-government agencies gave them seedlings for other crops.
 
“We wanted to shift to some faster-growing crops," she said.  "But now we don’t have anything to plant those with.  Before, our village used to share just a few farm tools for other kinds of crops, then they got lost [in the storm].”
 
Darantinao says to supplement her family income, she used to work as a household helper, but even that work is scarce because Haiyan flattened or damaged all the houses in her town.  She says she does not want to keep relying on relief aid to survive.
 
Social programs

The head of Social Welfare and Development says the department continues to distribute 14-days’ supply of staple foods to more than 280,000 families.  It is now funding a “cash for assets” program, which pays the daily minimum wage for residents to clear debris from areas that they need for their work, such as blocked irrigation systems.
 
The storm affected more than 14 million people and obliterated or damaged more than a million homes.  The government’s rehabilitation coordinator says about 220,000 families need permanent homes in so-called “safe zones.”  But Secretary Panfillo Lacson said in a briefing Wednesday there is only so much land available that is not prone to flooding, storm surges or lying on a fault line. 

Officials say so far some 3,400 families are in temporary housing units or “bunkhouses” while thousands of others remain in makeshift shelters covered with tarp. Agencies are also on alert for disease outbreaks with people living at such close quarters.
 
David Carden, who heads the Philippine office of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,  says the initial response to the disaster went well, with getting relief to people in need and clearing away tons of debris.  Now, he says the country has to “get the recovery moving.”
 
“The scale of this disaster is enormous and certainly to get people into more durable shelter, to ensure that the most affected people have livelihoods, these are areas that will remain a challenge,” he said.
 
More challenges ahead

The U.N. says it has received just a little more than half of the $788 million needed for recovery and rebuilding in the first year after the storm.
 
Carden says his agency is concerned about the rainy season, which begins next month.  He believes the government and aid agencies will be able to place residents into transitional shelters that will be able to withstand storms of “of a certain level.”  However, whether they could handle something as strong as Haiyan is “certainly doubtful.”

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid