THE HEAD OF Ireland’s largest aid agency has said that the international community needs to start looking beyond addressing immediate short term needs in the Philippines, and to begin focusing on rebuilding the livelihoods of local communities.
Concern CEO Dominic McSorley held a meeting with UN Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos on the island of Panay, which lay directly in the path of Typhoon Haiyan, and where there has been massive damage. A large number of those affected in the area are from poor fishing communities which were ravaged by the typhoon.
“Many of these people have lost their homes but, more importantly, they have lost the means to earn a living,” McSorley said.
“Thousands of fishing boats have been damaged or destroyed and the fishing communities need help to get back out on the ocean and to be able to re-generate income as quickly as possible.”
He said the international effort should now focus on rebuilding the livelihoods of communities to bolster the prospects for economic recovery in the areas affected by the typhoon.
The NGO is currently overseeing a renovation scheme for 2,000 damaged fishing boats, which is expected to get under way soon.
(Youtube: Concern Worldwide)
The initiative from Concern comes as number of people dead or missing after the typhoon climbs towards 7,000 on Saturday. The government’s confirmed death toll rose to 5,235, with another 1,613 people still missing more than two weeks after the massive storm made landfall.
Amos, who has been visiting the disaster zones, has warned that the world was still not responding fast enough.
“Much more needs to be done. Food, clean water and shelter remain the top priorities,” Amos said, as a UN appeal for funds was raised from $301 million to $348 million.
Amos said huge numbers of people were still exposed to bad weather in the nine provinces ravaged by the storm, as she warned particularly of the dangers for babies, children and mothers.
“I am very concerned that some 1.5 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition and close to 800,000 pregnant and nursing mothers need nutritional help,” Amos said.
Typhoon survivor Anna Marie Miraflor does her laundry amidst rubble in Tacloban [Bullit Marquez/AP/Press Association Images]
The number of people confirmed killed jumped by nearly 1,200 yesterday to 5,209, as confirmed body counts were made in some flattened communities, a spokesman for the government’s disaster management council told AFP.
The death toll rose marginally again this morning, and is expected to continue rising over the coming days and weeks.
In Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province in the eastern Philippines, 1,727 people have been confirmed dead. Another 451 remain missing.
A tent city for typhoon survivors in Tacloban [AP Photo/Bullit Marquez]
This article includes reporting from AFP.