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Two months after deadly typhoon, funding for shelter still urgently needed - U.N.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 7 Jan 2014 07:23 GMT
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Renato Delijon, married with two kids, rebuilds his shanty on Dec. 22, 2013, after it was devastated by a cargo ship that was washed ashore by super typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, central Philippines. Super typhoon Haiyan reduced almost everything in its path to rubble when it swept ashore in the central Philippines on Nov. 8, killing at least 6,069 people, leaving 1,779 missing and 4 million either homeless or with damaged homes. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
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BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Two months after super storm Haiyan ploughed through in the central Philippines and displaced 4.1 million people, funding for shelters is still urgently needed, the U.N. said, warning that homes being rebuilt by residents in haste and without assistance may be more vulnerable to future disasters.

Patchy availability of electricity, limited assistance to remote locations and healthcare concerns - especially a rise in dengue cases - are also hampering the recovery, the U.N. said in its latest report

Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, slammed into the central islands on Nov 8, reducing almost everything in its path to rubble and leaving almost 8,000 people dead or missing. Up to 14 million people were affected by the storm and more than 1 million homes were destroyed, causing an estimated $12.9 billion in losses.

Funding for shelters - at 22.5 percent - is one of the lowest under the U.N.’s $788 million strategic response plan, the U.N. said.

“This is at odds with the huge shelter needs,” and more funding is “urgently required” to scale up activities, the report said. “Recent heavy rain and wind added to the urgency of providing medium- to longer-term reconstruction materials, such as in Guiuan, which saw some of the worst destruction.”

Many schools are still being used as evacuation centres, with 10,000 people being housed in nine schools in Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province which bore the brunt of the destruction.

With schools having reopened on Monday, there is a pressing need to find alternative places for these people to stay, the U.N. said. 

It also sounded a note of caution on families attempting to rebuild their own homes. While this is happening at a fast pace, some houses are being rebuilt to insufficient standards, meaning they would be unable to withstand future similar disasters.

RISE IN DENGUE

The U.N. report added that cases of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus for which there is currently no approved vaccine or specific drug treatment, are on the rise in some areas. 

It said there were 37 confirmed cases of dengue in the past week in Ormoc city in Leyte province. Four international aid workers have been medically evacuated from Ormoc with suspected dengue, it added. 

According to the U.N., vast parts of the typhoon-hit areas are still suffering from an unreliable supply of electricity.

“This is hampering business activities and recovery in most urban and economic centres, such as Tacloban,” the report said. 

There is also a need to ensure aid is evenly distributed. 

“Some isolated people living in highland areas, especially in Panay Island and northern Negros Occidental, have received only limited assistance; there is a real risk of deteriorating food security in these areas,” the U.N. said.

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