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Date [ 2014-08-01, 04:41 ]

A hundred days after TyphoonHiyan struck, the country made an admirable recovery. 

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) Liew Lai Keen = A UNDP report announced that recovery work was established fast and risk of infectious outbreaks were contained.

In late 2013, Typhoon Haiyan swept westacross the Pacific Ocean, gathering furious power. By the time it slammed into the Visayan Islands of the Philippines, it had become the strongest recorded storm ever to hit land.Winds howled at over 300 kilometres perhour.

When they finally abated, more than6,000 people had perished. Over 14 million Filipinos suffered losses, including homes,livelihoods and essential public services.The tragedy was compounded by the factthat the typhoon crossed one of the poorestareas of the Philippines, where people havelow resilience to disaster and thereforelimited capacities to recover. Nearly 70percent who rely on farming and naturalresources are highly susceptible to damage caused by natural disasters and other forms of tragedies.

UNDP’s response to the crisis was immediate. It took action to meet urgent needs and also initiated measuresto reduce risks and vulnerabilities over the long term.

Under the national assistance plan, it scaled up a massive relief and recovery operation to assist 54 of the hardest-hitmunicipalities. With millions of fallentrees tangled with smashed vehicles andthe twisted remains of buildings and electrical wires, the first priority was to help clean up the mess.

This opened channels for humanitarianaid and provided employment. Nearly65,000 people who might otherwise havebeen destitute cleared the debris, earningincomes for their families and injectingmuch-needed cash into local economies.

Within two months, access to 14 hospitalsand over 700 schools and day-care centres had been restored, and nearly 1,000kilometres of roads reopened. Businesses began to restart or reopen.

UNDP helped set up 10 mobilesawmills to cut fallen trees into lumber for reconstruction, offering jobs to thousandsmore people involved in transporting and processing wood. In some of the poorestareas, training programmes enabled nearly 1,800 local people to learn carpentry,masonry, electrical and other essential skills for rebuilding.

Through partnerships with private sector, each person wasguaranteed employment upon graduation with firms.A major focus of UNDP’s assistancehas been aiding national and localgovernments. They have led the responseto what would be an overwhelming catastrophe for any country, managing aidcontributions coming in from around theworld judiciously.

Aid sort was not only of cash but also of knowledge. Experiences were shared from Indonesia after the 2004 IndianOcean tsunami. As a result, preparationsare underway toestablish a nationalsystem that effectivelytracks and allocatesfunds, and encourages

Locally, the emphasis had been onrestarting essential public services, such as the collection of household waste, which would otherwise be a serious health hazard. In the city of Tacloban, the economic heart of theVisayas, UNDP temporarily oversaw waste management until local agencies could take over.

By early 2014, UNDP was working withthe Department of Interior and Local Governance to develop a mechanism tosecond local officials from unaffected regions to assist with recoveryefforts in the affected areas. As a future safeguard, local disaster risk and responsemechanisms were being developed and put in place for future response to disasters.

These would turn out to be some of the best precautions againstsevere storms or typhoons that may hit the Philippines in the future.  Natural disasters maybe inevitable but the mass loss of lives andlivelihoods do not have to be!


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