Yolanda rehab: Only 30% complete as 2016 begins

MANILA, Philippines — Two years after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Philippines, the Philippine government said it has completed only 30.3% of projects and activities to rebuild affected communities.

On New Year's Eve, December 31, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said completed and ongoing Yolanda rehabilitation projects and activities stood at 63.2%. This is based on data as of November 15.

Of these projects, the government has finished 30.3% while it it is still working on 33.1%.

On the other hand, 36.8% of Yolanda rehabilitation projects have not begun. 

The NEDA targets to "complete most of the ongoing projects by 2016," but it did not say when it will start the remaining 36.8% of the Yolanda programs, projects, and activities.

Yolanda killed more than 6,300 people after it struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013. (READ: IN NUMBERS: 2 years after Typhoon Yolanda)

"The government is making strides in rebuilding resilient communities in the Yolanda corridors in the Visayas regions, as well as in MIMAROPA region, particularly through sustainable infrastructure development and responsive social services," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

Balisacan, who is also the NEDA director general, said the projects aim to reconstruct roads, bridges, ports, and telecommunications facilities, as well as improve health and education facilities.

"Many Yolanda survivors now have better prospects with the help of government’s various livelihood assistance programs," Balisacan claimed.

NEDA noted the following developments based on the agencies submissions as of November 15:

Progress being made

NEDA added that as of November 15, the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) has benefited 788,747 households or 76.3% of the targeted 1,033,827 affected families.

The families with partially damaged houses received P10,000 ($213.35) worth of cash or materials; while families with totally damaged houses received P30,000 ($639.74) worth of cash or materials, according to NEDA.

NEDA said a total of 48,995 Yolanda survivors or 89.4% of the targeted 54,825 beneficiaries have had their fishing boats repaired or replaced. (READ: PH's Yolanda rebuilding 'inadequate' - UN)

It added that "thousands more received fishing gears and paraphernalia than originally targeted: 76,598 sets were distributed while the original target was 68,636; distribution of an additional 4,779 sets is ongoing."

For the distribution of rice and corn seeds, NEDA said it is also nearing completion, with 94,020 or 85.7% of 101,708 targeted bags distributed to beneficiaries. 

According to NEDA, the Philippine government has also undertaken efforts to provide survivors with new livelihood opportunities. One of these is the entrepreneurship training wherein majority (80.22%) of the targeted 364 trainings have already been completed. 

NEDA's Balisacan said the resettlement of the survivors from the danger zones continues to be the most challenging among the recovery efforts.

To date, only a total of 13,335 housing units have been completed, with construction of 79,219 houses ongoing and scheduled for completion by December 2016, NEDA said.

Among the issues slowing down the building of resettlement sites are policies on procurement and land acquisition, as well as the handful required permits and clearances needed to start certain projects.

NEDA said it is intensively coordinating efforts to address these policy and implementation issues with the concerned agencies. 

In April this year, President Benigno Aquino III, through Memorandum Order No. 79, transferred the coordination, monitoring, and evaluation of all disaster-related programs, projects, and activities from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery to NEDA. — Rappler.com

$1=P46.89