On the eve of the second anniversary of super typhoon Haiyan’s devastation of the central Philippines, thousands of survivors walked along a highway in Tacloban City from Leyte and Samar provinces. Many carried placards protesting the pace of reconstruction efforts.
“It will be the second year anniversary of Yolanda (Haiyan), but many of them have not yet been given permanent housing. We think the government has been spending heavily on this project, but the housing and basic services that they should have given these folks after Yolanda have not yet been built or provided,” said Alicia Murphy of Urban Poor Associates, an NGO which advocates for the survivors’ right to adequate care and housing.
A year after Yolanda’s devastation, President Benigno Aquino III approved a $3.74 billion six-year master plan to rebuild housing, social services, and public infrastructure. Per figures of the National Housing Authority, 205,000 new houses are needed to accommodate the families in Leyte alone (never mind Samar) that have been displaced by Yolanda. Yet to date, only 17,000 units have been completed by the government. Budget officials said that an additional $700 million is needed for the other 103,000 housing units.
Struck by the slow pace of rehousing, United Nations special rapporteur Chaloka Beyani said after a visit in July that he was concerned about financial constraints on finding durable solutions and providing basic services for survivors.