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ILO: 2.2M workers affected by Typhoon Odette

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About 2.2 million workers were directly affected by Typhoon Odette, which caused devastation in the Visayas and Mindanao in December last year, according to a rapid impact assessment conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The ILO noted in a press release on Friday that, despite the typhoon hitting several regions across the country, the impact on employment was varied.

“Amongst the regions hardest hit were Western Visayas that saw 21% (672,000) of the workforce affected, Eastern Visayas with 19% (343,000); and Central Visayas with 18% (643,000),” the ILO said.

“Meanwhile, in Caraga, nearly one-third of the region’s entire workforce (363,000) was impacted,” it added.

The ILO said that the calamity devastated millions of lives and livelihoods and had dealt a huge blow to the socio-economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Following the onslaught of the typhoon, the United Nations called the impact ‘a crisis within a crisis’ since the country is barely recovering from the pandemic, and currently addressing a spike in cases,” it said.

The ILO said its assessment highlights how the typhoon has affected the most vulnerable and worsened pre-existing labor market challenges. 

It noted that nearly 38% or 839,000 of the total affected workers are women.

Prior to the typhoon, the ILO said that about three in five of the impacted women workers were in low paid jobs mostly in agriculture, wholesale and retail trade or domestic work.

It said young people and older workers are also among those significantly affected.

The rapid assessment was based on information published daily by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on families and persons affected by Typhoon Odette, baseline data from the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) 2020 Population Census and recent quarterly national labor force surveys, according to the ILO.

The ILO said it will conduct a field assessment and mobilize resources to start rebuilding efforts.

“This will be done in coordination with the government through the Department of Labor and Employment, workers and employers’ organizations, indigenous peoples, affected communities, and key partners. ILO will also assist affected regions under some of its existing projects for a human-centered recovery through decent work and sustainable livelihood,” it said. — VBL, GMA News

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