Friday, August 18, 2017 - 21:46:01

Philippine gov't raises budget for rebuilding typhoon-hit areas

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The Philippine government has increased the budget for rebuilding the areas devastated by typhoon Haiyan to 40.9 billion pesos (935.2 million USD), a senior government official has said.

Herminio Coloma Jr., Secretary of the Philippines' Presidential Communications Operations Office, said that the fund was raised from 38.8 billion pesos (887.1 million USD) after factoring in the requirements for repair of local government buildings and facilities, police and fire stations and public markets.

The total reconstruction will take three to five years, depending on the pace of the support system and the projects implemented, said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario.

He added that President Benigno Aquino did not want to merely repair the damage, but instead ensure the new structures are better than those that were standing before the storm.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said the reconstruction may cost 2.2 billion USD to cover livelihoods, commerce, social services, as well as infrastructure and power facilities.

That figure does not include the huge amounts already spent on immediate relief for the millions of people who were injured or left without food, water or shelter, he said.

Earlier this week, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Haiyan would cut 0.3-0.8 percentage from gross domestic product growth in the final quarter of 2013.

The United Nations made an initial humanitarian appeal for 301 million USD in aid for the typhoon victims just days after Haiyan hit. The UN will make another appeal for more funds in December.

A spokeswoman for the local UN office, Orla Fagan, told a news conference on November 29 that donors had raised 164 million USD so far.

The latest government assessment of damage caused by Haiyan showed that some 30.6 billion pesos worth of infrastructure and agriculture products and facilities were destroyed.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 5,632 people have been confirmed dead, while 1,759 are still missing, following the category five storm earlier this month.-VNA
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