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ADB approves add’l $20-M grant to help typhoon Yolanda victims

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended another $20 million worth of grant to the national government to help victims of the recent super-typhoon “Yolanda” that struck the central Philippines.

In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral agency said yesterday that the grant is expected to benefit almost 70 municipalities that were ravaged by “Yolanda” and aims to jumpstart job opportunities as well as rebuild damaged infrastructure in the areas.

“We have laid the groundwork to immediately put this assistance to use in cash-for-work programs and restoring crucial infrastructure, such as water systems, solid waste collection, and fuel and power supply,” Claudia Buentjen, principal country specialist in ADB’s Philippines country office said.

The grant, funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, will support thousands of affected families through cash-for-work programs and help restore income to farmers and fisherfolk by providing seeds, fertilizers, fishing nets, and fishing boats.

The funding will be disbursed in small grants of $1 million to $8 million to communities chosen in collaboration with local officials. In addition, assistance will be used to repair schools, build skills in masonry, and set up a system to monitor vulnerability to future disasters.

ADB has already provided a $3-million grant from its Asia-Pacific Disaster Response Fund, and approved a $500- million emergency loan to meet the national government meet immediate post-disaster costs. Last month, ADB opened an Extended Mission for Yolanda, based in Tacloban.

In December last year, ADB had extended $372.1 million in emergency assistance loan to help restore basic social services and rebuild communities devastated by super-typhoon.

The loan will specifically finance the government’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) National Community Driven Development Project.

The KALAHI-CIDSS program, since 2002, empowers the affected communities to directly respond to the needs of poor households, lessening the influence of patronage in resource allocation, and creating jobs.

ADB coordinated with the government and other development partners in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon to utilize the KALAHI-CIDSS framework to ensure ADB’s support reaches just under a million households in more than 6,000 typhoon-affected villages.

The project supports building the capacity of community leaders and social workers to identify, prioritize, budget, and implement needed projects, such as water supply systems, schools, health stations, electrification, access roads, irrigation, flood control, and artificial coral reef sanctuaries.

In addition to the $372.1 million loan, ADB has already provided a $3- million grant from its Asia-Pacific Disaster Response Fund, a $500-million emergency loan to meet immediate post-disaster costs.

Likewise, the government secured a $20-million grant from Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to provide affected people in Eastern Visayas with access to emergency support and early recovery systems.