ADB approves $500-M loan for Yolanda rehab

The Manila-based lending agency says the fund will be used for 5 priority areas

REHAB FUNDS. The ADB board has approved a $500-million emergency loan for the rehabilitation of areas affected by Yolanda. Photo by EPA/Francis Malasig

MANILA, Philippines – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) board has approved a $500-million emergency loan to help fund the rehabilitation of areas badly affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

In a statement on Friday, December 6,  ADB president Takehiko Nakao said, “A disaster of this magnitude can push families further into poverty. The speed of assistance is critical to ensure that loss of shelter, assets or livelihoods are only temporary, and quickly resolved with skills programs, income generating activities, and high-quality rehabilitation and reconstruction.”

The ADB is working closely with the Department of Finance to plan how the funds will be used to support 5 priority areas: shelter and reconstruction, power restoration, livelihoods and employment, resettlement and psychosocial care, and environmental protection.

The lending agency stressed that the $500-million loan is needed  to cover the immediate cost to rebuild devasted areas. “Relief efforts are expected to continue well into 2014, posing a budget challenge for the Philippines, which had been struck by 23 typhoons by the end of October, as well as a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on the island of Bohol,” Nakao added.

The ADB earlier committed a $23-million grant to help in post-Yolanda relief and rehabilitation efforts. Of the $23 million, at least $3 million had already been released by the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund. The remaining $20 million will be disbursed  by mid-December by the Japan Fund for Poverty.

The Manila-based lending agency also established  a Typhoon Yolanda Response Team that will set up an extended mission in one of the affected areas to support the  implementation of ADB’s assistance.  

The government said the rehabilitation cost is estimated at P40.9 billion.

Former senator Panfilo Lacson, newly appointed head of the government’s rehabilitation and reconstruction program, also noted  that the rehabilitation of areas affected by Yolanda will continue until 2016.

Yolanda battered most of the Visayas region on November 8, killing more than 5,000 people, rendering at least 4 million homeless and wiping out towns and cities. – Rappler.com