UN raps Philippines for failing to rehouse typhoon homeless

UN raps Philippines for failing to rehouse typhoon homeless
Survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan queueing to collect food supplies on a highway towards the airport in Tacloban city, located in the Leyte province of the Philippines.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

MANILA - The United Nations on Friday urged the Philippines to speed up completion of housing for thousands of people made homeless by super typhoon Haiyan nearly two years ago.

Haiyan, the strongest-ever storm to make landfall in the Philippines, killed more than 6,300 people and displaced 4.1 million in 2013.

"Many families remain housed in collective 'bunkhouses' that do not meet necessary minimum standards for the provision of basic needs and services," Chaloka Beyani, U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, said in a news conference in Manila.

"I was concerned to learn that funding shortfalls and political challenges, including inadequate cooperation between national and local governments, are delaying processes towards achieving durable solutions."

Official government records obtained by Reuters showed only 2.5 percent of the targeted 21,012 permanent housing in the worst-hit Eastern Visayas region were ready as of June. The National Housing Authority reported only 542 houses were completed.

About 4,900 houses are in different phases of construction. In two towns on Samar island and six towns on Leyte island, not a single house had been built 20 months after the typhoon struck.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, causing heavy casualties and damage to agriculture, infrastructure and private property.

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