UNDP brings jobs, joy to 142 in Leyte
For the 142 residents of a typhoon-devastated coastal village of Tacloban City, it will be a merry Christmas.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has hired them in its cash-for-work program.
“This is a very good Christmas gift to us. We have lost our source of income due to ‘Yolanda.’ At least, this can help us in our effort to start all over again,” said Alex Tagana, 33, one of the beneficiaries of the UN program launched on Monday.
Tagana, a fisherman and father of a 6-year-old boy, lost his boat when Supertyphoon “Yolanda” destroyed much of Tacloban on Nov. 8.
Just like the other survivors, Tagana has to rely on the relief assistance given by the government and international organizations to survive.
The 142 beneficiaries of the UNDP program are all from Barangay 64, which has around 2,000 residents.
Although there were no casualties in this community, all of its 496 houses were destroyed when seawater from the nearby Cancabato Bay inundated the village. The water level reached more than 10 feet, according to Ana Lyn Lagunzad, the village secretary.
The UNDP senior recovery coordinator, Yuri Afanasiev, said on Monday that providing work for the 142 beneficiaries was just a start. The agency plans to hire at least 5,000 people in Tacloban alone within the next two to three months.
The additional beneficiaries will come from other barangays in Tacloban and in Ormoc City, also in Leyte; and Guiuan in Eastern Samar.
Under the UNDP program, the typhoon survivors will be employed for 15 days to clean up debris in their villages under guidelines set by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The pay is P260 per day, the daily minimum wage for private workers in Tacloban, and each beneficiary is given an ATM card to draw their salary from Land Bank of the Philippines.
“We have to start with debris-clearing, otherwise, we cannot do any other work,” Afanasiev explained.
Charu Bist, of the UNDP staff, said the program was aimed at helping the survivors rebuild their lives.
In a statement, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez said he was grateful for the assistance extended by various international organizations and the national government to the city regarded as the ground zero of Yolanda.
“With their assistance, our efforts to rebuild our city will be hastened. In fact, our people appear to be in a now-back-to-normal situation. Their assistance is indeed a big help to us all. Thank you to the various international groups and our national government for helping us,” Romualdez said.
The Taiwanese Tzu Chi Foundation initiated the cash-for-work program in Tacloban, providing employment to more than 12,000 residents for about a month. It also provided survivors cash assistance ranging from P6,000 to P12,000, depending on the number of children in each family and the severity of the destruction of their homes.
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