Rebuilding after Typhoon Odette

Sweeping across multiple regions, Typhoon Odette affected Mimaropa (Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Eastern, Central and Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga. These regions, placed under a state of calamity, saw massive destruction in the form of flattened homes, battered tourist destinations, bent-over electricity posts, and uprooted trees. 

According to the latest report from CNN Philippines, the typhoon wreaked havoc on over 500,000 homes, leaving over 169,000 completely in ruins. The damage to infrastructure and agriculture is at P16.71B and more than P6.68B respectively. Over 4.4M individuals were affected. Most families greeted the holiday season with longing for a sense of normalcy.

Helping typhoon victims get back on their feet, different government agencies and humanitarian organizations extended assistance for the recovery efforts. Here are some of the programs aimed at rebuilding communities:

DBM Cash Aid

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released a total of P4.85B to local government units (LGUs) affected by Typhoon Odette. These are the amounts each region receives:

  • Region IV-B – P198.21M
  • Region VI – P1.63B
  • Region VII – P1.04B
  • Region VIII – P964.10M
  • Region X – P156.02M
  • Region XIII – P864.08M

Typhoon victims are set to receive cash assistance equivalent to P1K per individual and a maximum of P5K per household.

DHSUD Assistance for Damaged Homes

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) vowed to provide P100M worth of assistance for each province hit by Odette. According to Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, the funds will be used to purchase construction materials and repair damaged homes. 

The shelter agency already provided 5,598 shelter-grade tarpaulin sheets for the use of evacuees in Cebu, Bohol, Southern Leyte, and the Caraga Region. The effort was in partnership with the USAID and International Organization for Migration. Meanwhile, about 700 Shelter Repair Kits, which include corrugated galvanized iron sheets, lumber, plywood, tarps, nails, and carpentry tools, were distributed to Caraga while 300 were sent to Maasin City.

Pag-IBIG Calamity Loan

The Home Development Mutual Fund earlier announced that they are allocating P5B in calamity loans to help individuals and families recover from the devastating impact of the typhoon. They are already accepting applications. Under the program, qualified borrowers can get up to 80% of their total Pag-IBIG Savings, which consist of their monthly contributions, their employers’, and the accumulated dividends earned. The loan is available at a rate of 5.95% per annum.

SSS Calamity Loan and Home Repair Loan

In the same way, members and pensioners of the Social Security System can apply for calamity loan assistance packages. The agency will start accepting applications on January 14. The loan will be equivalent to one monthly salary credit or the amount applied for, whichever is lower. Similarly, the agency will grant direct house repair and/or improvement loans to qualified borrowers. This assistance option is available for a one-year period, until January 13, 2023.

NHA Financial Assistance

The National Housing Authority, under the Special Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP), will distribute P5K to typhoon-affected families in an effort to help rebuild damaged homes. The agency already turned over a P25M financial grant to Lapu-Lapu City on December 29, reaching 5,000 households. 

NDRRMC Food Packs, Financial Assistance, and Essentials

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council released about P205M in assistance to typhoon victims. Majority of the assistance was in the form of family food packs. About 175,000 family food packs worth P89M were distributed initially. Another set of 500 family packs worth P4.75M were given. 

The agency provided financial assistance as well, worth P20.74M. Some families received P20,000 as burial assistance. Essentials, such as face masks, hygiene kits, malongs, mats, blankets, generator sets, medicines, and more, were also handed out.

DSWD Relief Goods

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) supplied almost P100M worth of assistance to individuals affected by the typhoon. According to the agency, more than P30M came from local government units (LGUs), while more than P1M were from non-government organizations (NGOs). About P12,500 came from other partners. The relief supplies include food and non-food items.

NCR Cash Assistance

The local government heads of Metro Manila agreed to release P100M to help in recovery efforts in Odette-affected areas. The assistance will be in the form of financial aid. It will come from the savings of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. 

Foreign Assistance

Several countries have extended assistance to rebuilding communities in Odette-affected areas. These are some of them:

  • United States of America$1B through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Canada: $3M ($500,000 for the urgent Red Cross response)
  • Hungary: HUF20M (HUF 5M to be sent to Caritas Internationalis)
  • Ireland: €250,000 through the World Food Programme
  • United Kingdom: £750,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross
  • Australia: AUD5M
  • New Zealand: NZ$500,000 donated to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • South Korea: $2M in cash (Embassy of the ROK offered in-kind emergency assistance worth $50K, in partnership with the DSWD)
  • Israel: food packs, relief goods, solar energy systems to 2,000 families
  • Japan: emergency assistance packs, which included generators, sleeping mattresses, sleeping pads, and dome tents

Typhoon Odette may have caused significant devastation in the Visayas-Mindanao region, but through the collective efforts of different organizations, recovery is underway. The work ahead, repairing homes and rebuilding lives, although overwhelming, becomes bearable with helping hands joining together.

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