Thousands of families still live in transitional shelters while waiting for permanent resettlement in central Philippines.

Photo credits: www.trust.org
"TACLOBAN, Philippines, Nov 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Arsenjo Francisco has lived near the sea all his life, but the retired Filipino fisherman lost his love of the ocean when Super Tyhoon Haiyan killed 10 of his relatives, destroyed his house and swept away his belongings."

Yolanda, was the strongest typhoon ever to make a landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013 killing more than 6,300 people.

Francisco rebuilt his home in Tacloban's Anibong, but when the government offered to relocate him to a strong house away from the seashore under its "Build Back Better" policy, he accepted.

"I would like to move to a safer area but I'm still waiting, almost two years later," the 75-year-old said, sitting in a wooden rocking chair he jokingly calls "my present from Yolanda" because it was washed ashore by the typhoon.

Delays in finding rehousing sites, slowness in the release of promised funds, and difficulty finding what the money has been spent on are among the problems, officials say.

The Philippines is hit on average by 20 typhoons per year.


Struck by the slow pace of rehousing, Chaloka Beyani, a United Nations special rapporteur, said after a visit in July he was concerned about financial constraints on finding durable solutions and providing basic services for survivors.

Data from the Tacloban city government showed only 283 out of 13,062 units targeted by the National Housing Authority had been built by mid-October

"It had taken longer than expected to find suitable rehousing sites." said by Vilma Cabrera, assistant secretary at the Department for Social Welfare and Development

"Yes, there have been delays, primarily due to land issues but also in making sure that residents in the new zones have all the services they need," she added.

Leonor Briones, president of Social Watch Philippines, a public spending watchdog, said the slow release of the 167 billion pesos ($3.6 billion) earmarked by President Benigno Aquino had caused a lot of problems for local authorities.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said a total of 93.8 billion pesos had been released as of Oct. 23, 2015 under Aquino's masterplan. A further 46.2 billion is proposed for release in 2016, the DBM said.

Briones who was a former national treasurer, said that it was hard to find out where the money had been spent on because there was no breakdown of the total.

"We need to have a closer monitoring system which will report publicly and not just to the president how the money is spent," she said.


A few hundred yards from Francisco's house the bow of the "Eva Jocelyn", one of several large ships pushed onto the shore by the storm, has been turned into a memorial.

It is due to open this weekend as a reminder of the massive destruction the typhoon wrought on the Eastern Visayas, one of the Philippines' poorest areas where most people rely on agriculture and small-scale commerce for income.

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