News Conference Statement by President Takehiko Nakao

News conference statement by ADB President Takehiko Nakao in Tacloban, Philippines

(as drafted)

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us today.

It has been three months since Typhoon Yolanda swept through the Visayas, affecting 16 million people. On behalf of the Board, Management and staff of the Asian Development Bank, I would like to express our ongoing empathy and deep concern for all of you in dealing with the aftermath. We stand in solidarity with the Government and the people of the Philippines, especially those who have lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods.

What I have seen here today, however, is not only a picture of great loss and devastation. It is also one of tremendous strength and spirit, and it is an inspiration to all of us as we move toward reconstruction.

It is encouraging to see that children have returned to school and communities are getting back to work in local businesses and markets. But we know a long road still lies ahead. As a longstanding development partner to the Philippines – the country which is also our home – ADB is fully committed to supporting the Government’s leadership on reconstruction and promoting a recovery driven by the affected communities.

We along with the Government will address recovery efforts in the hardest hit areas – including the communities in Tanauan Municipality and Tacloban, which I visited today.

ADB’s assistance will help rebuild critical social infrastructure such as schools, clinics, and rural access roads. It will also help restore livelihoods and improve the capacity of local governments for risk-sensitive land use planning and disaster preparedness.

It is essential that we build back better, leaving communities safer and more resilient to disasters. This means investing in public buildings that can be used as shelters, ensuring schools and municipal buildings can withstand future disasters, and improving alert systems and response times.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that the Government and the people of the Philippines have our support now, and for the long term.

Thank you. I would be pleased to take your questions.