MANILA, PHILIPPINES – One year after Typhoon Yolanda—known internationally as Haiyan—swept through the central Philippines, communities are being rebuilt and livelihoods restored though much work remains to complete the job, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Stephen Groff said today.
“The day Yolanda hit was a terrible day for the Philippines and deeply affected all of us at ADB, which calls the Philippines home,” said Mr. Groff, ADB Vice-President for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. “Following a successful relief effort, solid progress has been made on repairing crucial infrastructure like national roads and bridges, supporting families with transitional housing and employment, and re-establishing local industry.”
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of Yolanda, considered one of the worst storms in history. It devastated vast areas of the central Philippines, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving millions homeless and jobless. Over half a million houses were destroyed and the agriculture sector was severely impacted.
Shortly after the disaster, ADB approved $900 million in assistance for stricken communities, including an emergency assistance loan of $500 million and grants totaling $23 million. An additional $150 million in resources from ongoing ADB projects is available for repurposing to respond to needs in transport, agrarian reform, community-driven development, and conditional cash transfers. Overall, ADB’s funding provides support for community-driven development, local government infrastructure, power restoration, livelihoods and employment, education and health care services, and improved disaster resilience.
“Recovery is not complete,” said Mr. Groff. “Some communities still need short-term assistance. Longer-term housing, resettlement and livelihood needs for these people are very real and urgent. ADB will stand with the government and people of the Philippines until the job is done.”
Mr. Groff said that real improvements in conditions on the ground at Yolanda-affected communities would gain momentum next year, when reconstruction will begin in earnest. Progress to date compared favorably with other recent disasters including some in more developed countries.
The reconstruction program should result in communities that are better safeguarded against future disasters, said Mr. Groff. This required careful planning, better construction standards, and often important policy decisions.
“There’s always going to be tension between doing it fast and doing it right. ADB supports the government’s efforts to plan carefully for the future of these areas.”
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totaled $21.0 billion, including cofinancing of $6.6 billion.