MANILA, Philippines - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday approved a $500 million emergency loan to the Philippines, to help cover the cost of rebuilding in areas hardest hit by super typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan).
"A disaster of this magnitude can push families further into poverty. The speed of assistance is critical to ensure that loss of shelter, assets or livelihoods is only temporary, and quickly resolved with skills programs, income generating activities, and high-quality rehabilitation and reconstruction,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao in a statement.
The Philippines is facing a budget challenge, as it is expected to continue relief and rebuilding efforts through 2014.
ADB worked closely with the Department of Finance to design the emergency support for Yolanda survivors.
ADB’s funding will ensure the government can provide support in five priority areas, including shelter and reconstruction; power restoration; livelihoods and employment; resettlement and psychosocial care; and environmental protection.
“As the government moves into rehabilitation and reconstruction phases, we stand ready to offer substantive additional support to implement the Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan. To immediately supplement the first phase of support, we are designing a community driven development project that will help rebuild communities and assist reconstruction in the affected areas,” said Stephen Groff, ADB Vice President responsible for East Asia, Southeast Asia and Pacific countries.
The ADB had earlier committed $23 million in grants for immediate relief assistance for affected communities. The $3 million from the ADB's emergency assistance facility has already been disbursed, while the $20 million from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will be released in mid-December.
ADB had also established a Typhoon Yolanda Response Team, and it plans to set up an extended mission in one of the affected areas to support implementation of ADB’s assistance. Two technical assistance projects will help implement and monitor the reconstruction plan.
Yolanda, which battered the central Visayas on November 8, had demolished several towns and cities in its path.
As of Friday (December 6), the official death toll from "Yolanda" has risen to 5,786, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. More than 4 million were left homeless.