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article imageUN-OCHA: Situation in Tacloban improved tremendously after Haiyan

By Leo Reyes     Dec 6, 2013 in Environment
The situation on the ground in Tacloban City in central Philippines one month after the landfall of supper Typhoon Haiyan has improved tremendously, the United Nations Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said.
Jesper Lund, head of UN-OCHA’s units in Leyte and Samar, said the temporary healthcare system that was set up in the most devastated areas are fully operational.
“From the devastation you saw on the first phase where injured people were looking for places to go and get treatment, but they couldn't go around because the roads were full of debris and people were gathered in community centers, now, vast majority of people have returned to houses—of what is left of their houses and they have started rebuilding,” Lund described in an interview.
Despite the visible improvements on the situation especially with the temporary healthcare facilities, Lund said people in the devastated areas have expectations as they look forward to enjoy a normal life.
“The challenge is, of course, to continue the improvements with the same speed because people have expectations. They want jobs. They want what we call livelihood. They want to be able to go back and work in their farms, go back to work in their schools…and there we need to continue that support to bring them that livelihood back,” Lund said.
“I think the most important areas now are shelter so people get roofs over their heads in the rainy season, livelihood. Leyte is an agricultural land so we need to get the seeds distributed (for the farmers),” Lund added.
Lund emphasized the need for the debris to be removed in order to give way for reconstruction works.
“We need to have the rubble removed so we can start reconstruction, rehabilitation in the city, because if you don’t get some basic installation like the slaughter house, the market, and some banks in operation in Tacloban, we would not get this livelihood and this opportunity for the people, and then we would not have this continuous development that we’re looking for,” he said.
Many of the residents in Tacloban City and other badly-hit areas have started rebuilding their homes using whatever available materials damaged and left by the killer typhoon.
Some of the families who fled the affected areas have settled down in towns and cities near the evacuation centers in Cebu and in Metro Manila where they have found shelters and temporary jobs.
In Tacloban City, local business establishments have reopened despite of lack of sufficient and regular power supply.
The national government have recently designated Panfilo Lacson, a former senator and chief of the Philippine National Police, to head the rehabilitation body for all affected areas in central Philippines.
President Aquino has earmarked more than P40 billion to finance the rehabilitation efforts of the government.
More about Super Typhoon Haiyan, tacloban, storm surge, calamity aid, Philippines
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