Business & Economy

ADB: Rebuilding in Yolanda-hit areas a ‘massive challenge’

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will likely increase its significant aid to the Philippines, citing the “massive challenge” the government faces in rebuilding areas destroyed by Supertyphoon ‘‘Yolanda’’.

 

The multilateral lender on Tuesday said its initial assessment of the damage caused by the typhoon showed the need for long-term reconstruction plan that must include zoning rules that the government should strictly enforce.

“While we will need to get more information from the assessment teams, it is clear that reconstruction will be a massive challenge,” ADB vice president Stephen Groff said in a statement. “As with many such disasters, some of the most difficult challenges will be in carrying out the principle of ‘building back better’—including rezoning and its enforcement—as people and business get back on track.”

Groff was part of the ADB team that conducted assessments in Leyte, Samar, central and northern Roxas, and north, central and southern Cebu. Results of the assessment will be submitted to the national government.

Earlier this month, the ADB made a pledge of $23 million in immediate assistance to survivors of the typhoon. On top of this, the bank also earmarked $500 million in concessional loans that the government may draw from to finance reconstruction efforts.

The ADB also has ongoing support to the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, which benefits nearly 70,000 households in severely affected areas.

Groff described the destruction as “breathtaking,” noting that a “bald swath” of destroyed homes and buildings, downed power lines, and toppled trees was clearly visible from the air. To further illustrate the extent of the damage, Groff said coconut trees, which can take up to 20 years to mature, were “littered like matchsticks.”

 

He said this presented “an acute crisis for farmers, emphasizing the need for livelihood programs.” Inquirer.net

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