MANILA, Philippines – Three months after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Visayas, the International Labor Organization (ILO) expanded its livelihood programs in typhoon-ravaged areas with the support of the Norwegian and Japanese governments.
The Norwegian government increased its aid to a total of NOK255 million (USD42 million), allocating NOK 20 million (USD3.2 million) to the ILO’s livelihood recovery program.
Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende said the continued support of the international community is crucial to rebuild the “massive damage and devastation caused by the typhoon.”
“The Philippines is in the middle of a critical process of reconstruction…It is clearly pressing to create opportunities for those affected to earn an income, start returning to their normal lives, and rebuild their local communities,” Brende said.
Typhoon Yolanda affected at least 14.2 million people with over 5.9 million residents losing their primary source of income.
Before the typhoon, around 2.6 million workers were already in vulnerable employment situations or lived below the poverty line.
ILO Philippine Office director Lawrence Jeff Johnson said international support helped the organization kick off its employment programs immediately after the typhoon hit.
“The contribution from the Norwegian Government has been very timely. Together with the financial support from the International Maritime Employers’ Council and Japan, we were able to start-up the first emergency employment activities shortly after the disaster,” he added.
Johnson said ILO’s programs are in line with the efforts of the Philippine government. The ILO supported the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) program to create 20,000 jobs under their emergency employment programs. (Read: ILO helps provide ‘emergency’ jobs in Haiyan-hit areas)
According to Ambassador Knut Solem of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila, his country and the international community have not forgotten the Philippines.
“It is important that priority is given to providing enough resources for reconstruction of the affected communities and giving them opportunities to generate sustainable income through decent jobs,” Solem said.
ILO emergency response strategy
The ILO Yolanda recovery program consists of both long-term and short-term strategies that address the immediate needs of those affected by the typhoon and will help them re-establish their livelihoods.
In the first few months, ILO will provide immediate short-term jobs using the emergency employment approach. The jobs involve debris clearing, clean-up work, and temporary repairs of community facilities.
Other priorities include gender-responsive technical vocational training and skills development for affected workers as well as sustainable employment generated through recovery enterprises. Johnson said the ILO aims to create equal opportunities for men and women.
During the second phase of the program, ILO will create jobs at the community level through resource-based approaches for infrastructure and environmental investments, labor-based technologies, and by working with local partners in the typhoon-hit areas.
Around 20% of the workers involved in the emergency employment programs are expected to be part of the second phase of the project. They will be given skills training to help them transition to community-based work.
Around 250 potential entrepreneurs will also receive support for business development and recovery.
The ILO estimates that around USD1.3 million will be injected to the local economy through their programs. – Rappler.com