Thursday, May 8, 2014

Years of hardship loom in typhoon-ravaged Philippines

Terra Daily via AFP: Parts of the Philippines laid waste by Super Typhoon Haiyan are showing signs of recovery six months later but years of work lie ahead, aid officials said Wednesday. In the central city of Tacloban, which bore the brunt of the most powerful typhoon ever to hit land, streets are free of debris and the stench of rotting flesh has disappeared.

But thousands still live in evacuation centres, worried about their future. "The challenges are indeed great. They are also surmountable," UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for the Philippines Klaus Beck told a news conference in Tacloban. "Rebuilding livelihoods is an enormous challenge."

Farmer Marcelo Silvano, 66, who saw half his coconut farm wiped out in the nearby town of Tolosa, said extra jobs are needed. "There are so many of us who cannot find work. All I can do is plant root crops and vegetables for home consumption. I am even short of farm tools," he told AFP.

The storm which struck last November 8 left 6,293 dead, 1,061 missing and about 4.1 million people displaced, Red Cross figures showed. It caused massive damage to homes, businesses, schools and roads, with power, water and all essential services in an area the size of Portugal cut off.

An international humanitarian effort has helped millions get back on their feet. Water and electrical services have been restored in many areas and businesses are reopening. After a brief surge in looting just after the storm, police have returned to the streets. "I can say without mental reservation that we are right on track," the head of the government reconstruction efforts, Panfilo Lacson, declared Wednesday in Manila....

Tacloban, not long after Typhoon Haiyan, shot by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

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