UN: Haiyan shelters pose 'compelling need'

TWO-DAY VISIT. UNDP administrator Helen Clark addresses the Philippine media on March 27, 2014 at the Peninsula Manila Hotel. Photo by Jacq Hernandez/UNDP

TWO-DAY VISIT. UNDP administrator Helen Clark addresses the Philippine media on March 27, 2014 at the Peninsula Manila Hotel.

Photo by Jacq Hernandez/UNDP

MANILA, Philippines – Having visited typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City, the development chief of the United Nations (UN) challenged the Philippine government to move Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors into decent shelters.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark also urged other countries to fulfill their pledges for Yolanda-hit communities. Otherwise, these countries will breed “cynicism.”

“There is a compelling need for people to be able to move from tents into at least transitional housing,” Clark said in a media conference Thursday, March 27. (READ: Gov't hit for delayed Haiyan shelters)

In doing this, she said the government needs to identify the risks of living in particular areas. The national, provincial, and municipal governments should help each other on this, she said.

Clark, who was prime minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, said the “bigger challenge" is “coordination.”

This work falls on the shoulders of Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson – a man who, in the words of his Indonesian counterpart, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, has “weak” authority. (READ: Indonesian rehab czar: Give Lacson more powers)

UNDP: Fulfill Haiyan pledges

Clark said: “What I see is a country which has had a lot of experience in dealing with disasters. But this one is bigger than anything, not only the Philippines – but the world – has ever seen.”

“How this response is handled will very much influence the way in which future responses to big storms are handled,” she said during her two-day visit to the Philippines.

Clark also urged other countries to fulfill their pledges for Yolanda survivors. “It's very important that when governments make commitments, that they carry through them. Otherwise you get cynicism,” she said.

The Philippines, after all, has received only around a fifth of the money that the world promised.

Clark called for continuous aid as the world “is facing simultaneously a range of conflicts and emergencies,” which compete for the attention of other countries.

While this is not “to offer any excuse for donors,” she said this underscores the need “to be working with governments on strengthening resilience to shock.” – Rappler.com