275,000 families to get typhoon aid until March

By Rainier Allan Ronda, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 04 2014 02:36 AM | Updated as of Jan 04 2014 10:36 AM

MANILA, Philippines - More than 275,000 families affected by Typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas will continue to get dole-outs from the government until March 31, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said yesterday.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman said they have yet to finalize the list of vulnerable families that would receive relief supplies, including 25 kilos of rice and 25 pieces of canned goods.

Soliman said vulnerable families are those with adults or breadwinners unable to engage in livelihood as well as those with pregnant mothers, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Cash-for-work program will be provided to families that will be classified as non-vulnerable, the DSWD chief said.

The distribution of relief goods to non-vulnerable families will stop once the agency comes out with the list.

Meanwhile, Soliman said the DSWD had been very busy with disaster relief operations in 2013.

“The year 2013 has been an exhilarating year, which left us breathless but we stepped up to the challenge,” she said.

She added the agency is ready for more social welfare and development work this year.

Livelihood grant

Workers displaced by Yolanda can become entrepreneurs, with the government providing the necessary capital, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said yesterday.

“We will slowly veer away from emergency employment and focus on livelihood programs so we can help address the loss of income and jobs of people from typhoon-affected areas,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

Baldoz said the government is providing a minimum of P10,000 grant for those who will submit a business proposal they intend to engage in.

She said typhoon victims could enter into fish drying, packaging and processing.

“There is no standard amount of grant because the government can provide bigger financial assistance to groups of typhoon victims who have a viable alternative livelihood project,” she added.

Baldoz said a total of 7.4 million workers are employed in agriculture, industrial services and home-based enterprises in the Visayas.

Of the estimated 12.2 million people affected by Yolanda, around six million workers were displaced in nine regions.

She said the government intends to implement medium-term programs aimed at generating employment for typhoon victims.

According to Baldoz, the government needs to respond immediately to prevent a surge in the number of unemployed from typhoon-affected areas.

Yolanda toll now at 6,166

The death toll from Yolanda increased yesterday to 6,166, with Eastern Visayas registering the highest number of fatalities at 5,273, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

The NDRRMC said the figure is expected to increase further when the more than 1,000 cadavers left rotting in an open field in Barangay Anibong, Tacloban City have been finally processed and buried.

Most of the unburied bodies are now lying in two cadaver collection points in Barangay Suhi and Barangay San Isidro. – With Mayen Jaymalin, Jaime Laude