Philippines remembers super typhoon 'Yolanda' disaster

Kyodo News

Posted at Nov 08 2016 07:54 PM

Photo by Fernando Sepe, Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines commemorated Tuesday the third year since its central region was ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), amid unfinished rehabilitation efforts by the government in areas affected by the calamity.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte led a remembrance ceremony in Tacloban City in the country's eastern central province of Leyte, one of the hardest hit during the typhoon, to honor the people who died there because of the typhoon.

"I will be back, I promise you. In the fullness of God's time, I will be back by December," Duterte said, adding that he wants the construction of shelters there to be finished by December.

According to the government's National Economic and Development Authority, only 14 percent or 29,661 out of the target of 205,128 resettlement housing units had been finished as of October.

The same government agency said that 102,240 housing resettlement units are still being built while the construction of the remaining 73,227 has yet to start.

GALLERY: Images of Yolanda aftermath

The Ibon Foundation, a nonprofit research and development institution, characterized the resettlement units built by the government as "substandard" and lacking basic utilities.

"Shelter shortage is glaring despite the influx of funds. Slow government response in the three-year aftermath of the super-typhoon has extended rehabilitation woes for the victims and survivors," it added in its statement released to the press.

"Snail-paced response and poor construction of homes for survivors not only puts into question the government's integrity in the utilization of billions of pesos" in rehabilitation funds, the foundation said.

At least 6,300 people died when super typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013 according to the government-run disaster agency, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, causing 89.6 billion pesos ($184 million) in damage to houses, bridges, roads and other infrastructure in the areas it traversed.