ADB hikes funding for ‘Yolanda’ rehab
MANILA, Philippines–The Asian Development Bank (ADB) may make available additional financing for post-“Yolanda” reconstruction efforts as the Visayas continues to struggle with the super typhoon’s effects one year after it devastated the region.
Senior ADB officials on Monday emphasized that it would take years for the affected region to fully recover from the destruction caused by the strongest storm to ever hit land.
It praised the government’s response to the disaster. Although some areas were still found wanting, in general, the rehabilitation of affected areas was moving faster compared to similar disasters overseas.
“The scale is huge, but when you compare the progress now, the Philippines is doing quite well,” ADB Vice President for East Asia and Southeast Asia Stephen Groff told a press conference.
The Manila-based ADB was one of the first international institutions to offer aid to the Philippines following Yolanda. Last year, it made available $900 million in grants and concessional loans to bankroll the reconstruction of homes and roads, and for cash doleouts to affected families.
Groff said discussions were going on whether to divert $150 million in additional loan financing for projects that would benefit Yolanda survivors.
The money was approved by the ADB earlier for projects also in the Philippines, particularly for the improvement of national roads, various agrarian reform initiatives, and for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Conditional Cash Transfer program.
A slight repurposing of the funds to Yolanda survivors may be warranted, given the vast resources that are still needed in parts of the Visayas.
ADB Country Director for the Philippines Richard Bold at the same press conference noted that over 6,200 people lost their lives during the storm on Nov. 8 last year.
“I completely understand that people have high expectations… but none of this will happen overnight,” said Groff.
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