PHILIPPINES - Survivors of Supertyphoon "Yolanda" are matching with initiative and diligence every donor dollar given to them.
Helping the Philippines pays back big time as survivors themselves drive the response and early recovery efforts on the ground, putting their lives back together little by little every day, said Luiza Carvalho, the UN resident humanitarian coordinator in the country.
Carvalho said such level of engagement on the ground should inspire the world to continue supporting typhoon-ravaged villages as the Philippines, the United Nations and other partners ease the transition from emergency relief to the long-term recovery and rehabilitation phase.
Indeed, throughout the effort, one invaluable resource has emerged: the typhoon-hit residents themselves who are battling great odds to survive instead of remaining tragic victims.
"In the Philippines, it's a worthwhile investment because of this resilience aspect and the role they (survivors) play. It's a resource that really pays," Carvalho told the Inquirer in an interview.
"It really pushes the response very fast and further. Every dollar you invest in the Philippines, it pays back because of the capacity of the community to expand the foreign aid. They do have a very fast and strong engagement in the response," said Carvalho, who has travelled to the disaster areas at least five times since the emergency.
She called on the international community anew to continue its support as the government prepared for the four-year Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY), a "build back better" plan for new shelters, major infrastructure, education, health and agriculture facilities and systems, among many others, in the affected areas.
"Do not stop in the next two, three months, we have to keep the momentum," Carvalho said, addressing donors.