UN and Philippines revise aid plan for typhoon survivors in Mindanao | Asia Pacific

UN and Philippines revise aid plan for typhoon survivors in Mindanao

UN and Philippines revise aid plan for typhoon survivors in Mindanao

Updated 25 January 2013, 21:46 AEDT

The Philippines, together with its UN and other partners, have revised its response to last month's typhoon disaster.

The new action plan seeks US 76-million dollars to help families and local communities, with housing, livelihoods and agriculture the key focus.

Typhoon Bopha, which was a Category Five 'super typhoon' affected six million people, claiming over a thousand lives and making 850-thousand people homeless.

Presenter: Sen Lam

Speaker: Luiza Carvalho, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines

CARVALHO: We are very much concerned about shelter, so permanent shelter got very much a boost in this new consolidated appeal. But also, very much on food and agriculture, with early recovery and livelihoods. This was an event which badly affected housing, shelter and livelihoods. So this is the first six months, and of course, there are many projects that will have to be run after and even in the next year.

LAM: 65-million dollars were requested shortly after Bopha hit last month, and you've just asked for a 17-percent rise - is the humanitarian aid and recovery plan going to be properly funded?

CARVALHO: Well, it's important to say that this is very much what we're talking about - the most vulnerable. This is under principle of humanitarian work, so we're talking about the most vulnerable. We're also talking about a context, where the government has been very active and leading the process since the beginning. So the bulk of of support and help and investment really comes from the government. But it's very important that the donors understand and support us in this process, because we're talking about the most vulnerable and poorest areas of the country.

LAM: But so far, is there enough money for you to do what you need to do, for these local communities?

CARVALHO: No, no, so far we have received around thirty percent, around 36-percent of the $76-million. But 36 percent of the initial request .. so now the donors just received the new consolidated appeal, with the increase, this 17 percent increase.

LAM: How have donor countries responded to this great need on Mindanao island? Has the Australian government's response been satisfactory?

CARVALHO: Australia, the United States, Japan and now also Canada, and some other countries, they've been the major donors so far. Each of them, they're interested in specific areas, but they're aligning with the priorities that we have been talking to them. They're also delivering in kind, some donors have brought to the country, that were not necessarily delivered to the UN response. So they are a complimentary support that is not reflected here. And every week, we issue documents and table a showing, how have been the participation of the donors.

LAM: One month on, after Bopha, 850-thousand people are still displaced and without proper shelter, or permanent shelter. What's being done about that? Is there a time frame here? Do we know how much longer these people will have to stay in schools and camps and temporary shelter?

CARVALHO: Oh this is a very different aspect of the event specifically. We know that we do have a minority of people in shelters, and the majority of people living around the remains of their old houses. And this is why this is an opportunity, because we're talking about returning people to their old spaces. So this is a different circumstances - that there are very few informal settlements and hopefully, we won't have a permanent population living in camps and bunk houses in the future.

LAM: But the preference is to have these people remain in their own communities, rather than to relocate them. So you build from existing structures, is that right?

CARVALHO: Absolutely, yes. This is an opportunity, we're very keen on showing this, that we're not talking about communities that have to be sent to other places, or stay in bunk houses. We're talking about communities that can re-build their houses. And the government will be issuing by the beginning of February, a completed study on areas where the resettlements can be taken. And we're talking about resettlement within their own communities, let alone those can re-build their houses in the places where they were before.


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