The Philippines has launched an $8.17bn plan to rebuild the lives of millions made homeless by Super Typhoon Haiyan and strengthen the nation’s defences against future natural disasters.
The Filipino government called on the international community and its private sector to take part in the four-year plan to rebuild the damage.
On Wednesday, a day after the nation ended its 40-day mourning period for the estimated 8,000 who were either killed or left unaccounted for by the natural disaster, President Benigno Aquino announced the plan to rehabilitate hundreds of devastated communities.
“Every dollar of funding assistance will be used in as efficient and as lasting a manner as possible,” Aquino told foreign diplomats and aid officials on Wednesday in a speech at the launch of the initiative, that also involves creating new jobs, aid to vulnerable workers in agriculture and the service sectors, and funds to deal with health, social and environmental issues.
Haiyan, one of the biggest typhoon to make landfall, has flattened the homes of more than 16 million people in the typhoon-devastated central city of Tacloban, displacing 4.4 million people.
Bearing $12.9bn-worth of damage and destruction, the Philippine’s economy is expected to slow by 0.3 percent this year and next as a result of the typhoon that has also left 6 million people without jobs.
“The task immediately before us lies in ensuring that the communities that rise again do so stronger, better and more resilient than before,” Aquino
The government is allocating a total of 125.1 billion pesos for rehabilitation efforts, with the spending spread over this year and next, an expense that it said was “expected to impact on the fiscal deficit in the next two or three years”.
He said the plan involves meeting immediate as well longer-term needs as devastated communities try to return to normal, with food aid expected to be needed until March next year at the latest.
“From now until December 2014 we will be preoccupied with critical immediate investments such as the rebuilding and repair of infrastructure and the construction of temporary houses,” he said.
“Large investments will be spread over multiple years and will hopefully be completed by 2017 if not earlier.”
“We know that it is more efficient to prioritise resilience now, rather than to keep rebuilding,” he said, referring to the Philippines’s location as the frontline state for Pacific storms and typhoons.
The typhoon comes second in the country’s history in terms of fatalities, led by a tsunami which hit the major southern island of Mindanao and left between 5,000 and 8,000 people dead following a major undersea quake in 1976.