World Bank doubles emergency loan for PH reconstruction

MANILA, Philippines – The World Bank on Friday, November 22, offered the Philippines US$480 million in additional financial assistance to help the country in its reconstruction effort in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).

This followed the $500-million emergency loan it announced on Monday, bringing to almost $1 billion the total package being offered to the Philippines.

A press release from the World Bank stated that its president, Jim Yong Kim, made the new pledge after a phone call with President Benigno Aquino III.

The amount will support the bank's National Community Driven Development Project (NCDDP) in the country, which "will empower communities themselves to lead the reconstruction effort, by offering a transparent way for people to identify their own needs."

Kim said the project could help communities rebuild "community-level or livelihood related infrastructure such as water, rural roads, schools and clinics, using retroactive financing."

“With overwhelming demands, the relief, recovery, and reconstruction effort will take time. The World Bank Group is committed to supporting the government’s efforts to rebuild people’s lives no matter how long it takes,” Kim said.

Kim said the complete financial package will be delivered "in a few weeks."

The World Bank also announced that it has mobilized its staff to quickly deliver the emergency budget support loan, as well as its disaster specialists to assess damage and identify areas that need immediate recovery and reconstruction support.

Thousands of people died when Haiyan – packing some of the strongest winds ever recorded – smashed into the Philippines on November 8, generating tsunami-like waves that flattened entire communities and affected up to 4 million people displaced.

Analysts earlier estimated the economic cost of the typhoon could reach up to $15 billion. – Rappler.com