$16.2M needed for women typhoon survivors

By Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 19 2014 03:42 AM | Updated as of Feb 19 2014 11:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Around $16.2 million is required to address the reproductive health needs of some 3.5 million women in areas battered by Typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“Recovery efforts have shown some progress but much remains to be done to fully bring the affected communities back on their feet,” the UNFPA said in a statement.

The UNFPA said that 100 days after Yolanda’s devastation, only $3.3 million or 20 percent of the amount have been mobilized.

The resources funded more than 60 medical missions, benefitting some 12,000 women in the hardest-hit provinces of Leyte, Eastern Samar, Iloilo and Capiz.

To raise awareness on gender-based violence, anti-trafficking and psychosocial support, 17 women-friendly facilities were established in affected areas.

The agency estimated there are more than 250,000 pregnant and 169,000 breastfeeding women in typhoon-hit areas.

Some 1,000 women give birth daily, with 150 expected to experience life-threatening complications.

According to the UNFPA, women and children are at risk to human trafficking and sexual exploitation during crisis.

Among donors that have contributed to rebuilding efforts are Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund, and the governments of Kuwait and Hungary.

Meanwhile, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said many typhoon victims from Tacloban, Leyte and nearby Samar are slowly rebuilding their lives and dreaming of becoming entrepreneurs.

They are hoping to start their own business out of the money they earned from the emergency employment and skills training provided by the ILO and the Department of Labor and Employment.

ILO cited the case of 59-year-old Romeo Ellasoa, a welder from Basey, Samar, who lost his job and home after Yolanda struck on Nov. 8.

Ellasoa is now working in a repair shop and hopes to eventually earn enough money to buy new welding tools so he can start a small business.

US volunteers pack 2 M meals

In Novi, Michigan, thousands of volunteers from all walks of life – Girl Scouts troops, National Guard units, financial planning offices, Zumba classes – spent three days packing food for thousands of hungry children they will never meet.

The 2 Million Meals effort, the brainchild of a Detroit-area pastor, concluded last Sunday.

The results: 8,810 volunteers put together 2,029,536 meals to be shipped to the Philippines, El Salvador and Haiti.

The mixtures of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and 21 vitamins and minerals will provide one meal a day for a year to 5,560 children.

“The truth is, this has been an amazing experience because of the impact it’s going to cause in the lives of every child and every person who’s going to eat these meals,” Brad Powell, who heads NorthRidge Church, said shortly after the 2-millionth meal was packed.

Powell led an effort three years ago in which 5,000 volunteers packed one million meals over the same time period. Powell dreamed of doubling that effort.

That vision became a reality on Sunday, when the magic number flashed on an oversized video display. – Mayen Jaymalin, AFP