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IFRC warns against long term aid dependency

One month on from Typhoon Haiyan : IFRC Secretary General visits devastated central Philippines and warns against long term aid dependency

Manila / Geneva: December 10, 2013: During a recent visit to areas of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Bekele Geleta, spoke of the need to empower typhoon-affected affected communities by not making them overly dependent on humanitarian aid in their longer term recovery.

Mr Geleta travelled to devastated Leyte island between December 7-9 where he joined a distribution of vital aid supplies in the town of Palo, outside Tacloban, on Friday before heading to the badly damaged port town of Ormoc, where he visited a basic health care unit, run by the IFRC, which has helped to keep many of vital services of the town’s main referral hospital running.

Since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the central Visayas region of the Philippine archipelago on November 8, the IFRC, working with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), has scaled up relief efforts and is simultaneously moving towards recovery programmes which focus on helping people to gain access to cash and materials and technical support to rebuild their homes.

“There are still needs and gaps in delivery of food and emergency shelter materials to some areas, but we must look towards gradually reducing people’s dependency on food aid and accelerate cash for work and cash transfer programmes that put money in people’s pockets,” said Mr Geleta.

Cash grant transfer programmes to help 50,000 of the hardest hit families will be launched this month to provide a boost to people whose livelihoods have either been disrupted or destroyed.

“Thousands have lost their income and this approach gives them dignity and allows them to set their own priorities. They can buy what they need and at the same time, money being spent locally will help to revitalize the economy of the area.”

The last month has seen the deployment of 13 Emergency Response Units from IFRC National Societies across the globe. These teams specialise in specific sectors including shelter, water and sanitation, health, relief, logistics and telecommunications.

During his visit, Mr Geleta also visited the IFRC and Philippine Red Cross operations centre in Cebu City which has handled the arrival of 24 cargo flights bringing more than a thousand tonnes of aid arriving from Asia and Europe. These supplies, which include hygiene kits, emergency shelter materials, kitchen sets and blankets have been distributed to more than 65,000 people via logistics hubs established in Iloilo in Panay, Tacloban in Leyte and Maya in northern Cebu. Red Cross food aid has reached almost 500,000 people and safe water has been provided to tens of thousands across the worst affected areas of Visayas.

ENDS

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