President Aquino Approves $3.6 Billion Haiyan Rehabilitation Plan
In November 2014, the Philippines suffered from one of the deadliest natural disasters in its history, which came in the form of super typhoon Haiyan, or what is locally known as Yolanda. It has damaged the lives of thousands of people, resulting into dramatic deaths and destruction that is seldom seen in the country.
A year after the disaster, most of the victims are still in search for help, which they hope to come anytime soon. The government, on the other hand, has been repeatedly criticized because of the asserted lack of efforts to help those who are most in need. In spite of the foreign aids from different countries, response is believed to be slow and assistance is not reaching most of those who have been heavily hit by the disaster.
Sparking a Light of Hope
President Aquino recently approved a rehabilitation plan for the areas affected by Haiyan amounting to $3.6 billion of 160 billion pesos. According to Edwin Lacierda, the Presidential Spokesman, the plan include a detailed approach being planned by the government to finally rise from Haiyan and give people renewed strength and hope. Prior to this, however, Lacierda has also emphasized that the Budget department has already released a rehabilitation fund amounting to 52 billion pesos.
Shelter as a Priority
Based on the rehabilitation plan approved by President Aquino, most of the funds will go to housing projects, which is their current priority. Earlier, the mayor of the worst hit area affected by the typhoon lamented how only 50 families so far have moved to permanent residential areas. With the approval of the fund, however, it is expected that more permanent houses will soon be built. The government also adds that while they would like to speed up the process of rebuilding houses, structural integrity is never compensated to make sure the house will withstand the disasters expected to hit the country in the future.
With the plan that has been submitted, it is expected that 200,000 houses will be built. It has been also emphasized that the national government is only responsible for the financial assistance, but it is the local government who will identify the relocation sites as they have the expertise to determine the right places for the housing project.
Survivors and their Own Rebuilding Efforts
Many of the survivors the survivors are being engaged in their efforts as well to help rebuild their own lives. This is through a variety of livelihood programs, such as farming and piggeries. Before, coconuts were a big source of income in the affected areas, but such may not prove to be a wise idea as a source of livelihood because it may take up to six years before newly planted coconuts can fully grow. As an alternative, the International Committee of the Red Cross has provided cash assistance to help farmers to plant rice instead, which can grow much quicker. There are also people who have started with their own stores as a means of earning income.