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Australia pledges aid in post-Yolanda reconstruction

December 7, 2013 9:31pm

After almost a month of extending aid to victims of Typhoon Yolanda, Australia on Saturday reassured the Philippines of support, this time for reconstruction.
In posts on his Twitter account, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said the assurance came from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who is to visit Yolanda-hit areas in the Visayas on Sunday.
"Ms. Bishop said Australia 'stands ready to support the Philippines in however they want us to support their reconstruction effort,'" Tweddell said Saturday evening.
He said he will accompany Bishop to Visayas to "assess" and meet Australians "who have been helping with Haiyan relief." 
The envoy noted Australia has so far committed $30 million in food, clean water, health care, shelter and logistic support "to meet critical needs."
He also said the Australians have contributed around $9 million to Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation's #HelpPH campaign, "which reflects the generosity of the Australian people." 
On Sunday, residents in Visayas and Southern Luzon mark the first month since Yolanda hit the Philippines.
Yolanda left more than 5,700 dead and more than P30 billion in damage.

"Massive shelter response"
Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration pledged massive shelter response in the central Philippines one month after Yolanda.
"A massive logistics chain is now in place in this Philippine government-led response and the first sets of corrugated iron sheeting have arrived in the city of Tacloban, together with training material on how to build back safer," IOM said.
It added these materials are being loaded onto trucks for delivery to 600 most vulnerable families.
Over 10,000 additional recovery shelter kits are also already in the country, it added.
“The limitation will not be procurement capacity, logistics capacity, or humanitarian need.  The limitation we will face is financing.  Whatever money we have received we have spent,” said Marco Boasso, IOM’s chief of mission in the Philippines.
IOM said 18,000 corrugated iron sheets and tool kits that include hammers, saws, crowbars, shovels and fixing kits will arrive this weekend.
These will be distributed to 1,700 families even as another 100,000 sheets and kits are in the pipeline.
Also, IOM said it will soon send iron sheets, blankets, tools, nails, ropes, tarpaulins, jerry cans, buckets, mats, bamboos, solar lamps and kitchen sets via its operational hubs in Tacloban, Cebu, Roxas, Ormoc and Guiuan, to serve 50,000 families.
“Our aim is to help get people into safe, secure accommodation where they can rebuild their lives. Our trucks are ready to roll and we will work alongside the Government to ensure distributions reach the needy as quickly as possible,” said Conrado Navidad, coordinator for IOM in the Philippines.
IOM also said its teams have surveyed 143 displaced sites and are building a detailed picture of the needs, conditions and trends.
Navidad said this "allows us to have a continuous, real-time dialogue with displaced communities, sharing information about aid, and responding to requests.” — JDS, GMA News
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