Govt vows action on Yolanda rebuilding after UN criticism

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 02 2015 02:14 PM | Updated as of Aug 03 2015 11:47 AM

MANILA -- Malacanang on Sunday vowed to take further action to aid those displaced by deadly Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, following UN criticism that the government's response so far had been "inadequate."

President Benigno Aquino III's spokesman Herminio Coloma said the government was not merely trying to find new housing for those displaced by the storm, which was the most powerful ever recorded to have hit land, but was also trying to ensure they would be relocated to safer ground.

"This is our commitment: the government will continue its effort to help these internally displaced persons, particularly regarding setting up permanent, safe and decent housing," he told reporters.

"Additionally, we hope to help them find suitable livelihood and jobs so they can further recover from the calamity," Coloma added.

His remarks came after UN special rapporteur Chaloka Beyani said that the government had not done enough for those left homeless by Yolanda, which flattened whole towns and left about 7,350 dead or missing when it swept through the central Philippines in November 2013.

Roughly 2,000 families have been forced to relocate to evacuation camps with many living in shanties, often without power or water, the report and social welfare officials have said.

Coloma said that in the 2016 budget, the government had allocated more money to setting up new communities for those affected by Yolanda as well as those displaced by fighting with Muslim rebels in the south.

He did not specify how much money was going to victims of Yolanda.

Aquino has budgeted P160 billion to rebuild after Yolanda, considered as one of the major tests of his six-year term that will end in June next year.

The Philippines is one of the world's most disaster-prone countries, at risk from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and an average 20 typhoons yearly.

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