World Bank Offers $500 Million Loan to Storm-Ravaged Philippines

World Bank Offers $500 Million Loan to Storm-Ravaged Philippines

In response to a request from the government of the Philippines, the World Bank has announced a $500 million emergency loan in support of rebuilding efforts in the storm-ravaged country.

The loan from the World Bank, which has sent a technical team to the island nation to assess the damage and gather information, will support a comprehensive reconstruction plan in areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. The bank also is providing technical assistance with respect to disaster-resistant designs for housing, health facilities, schools, and public markets, and is prepared to provide additional support, including funding for temporary shelters, debris cleanup, and a conditional cash transfer program for poor families.

"Given the scale of this disaster, the country will need a long-term reconstruction plan," said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank vice president for the East Asia Pacific region. "We can bring lessons learned from our work in reconstruction after disasters hit Aceh, Haiti, and other areas that might be helpful in the Philippines. Remote sensing images are being obtained for use by the assessment team in geo-mapping activities to help determine the cost of the destruction."

While aid workers and relief supplies continue to arrive in the country, the United Nations has expressed concern that some islands affected by the superstorm, which killed at least 4,200 and damaged half a million homes, have not  received assistance. Bernard Kerblat, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees representative in the Philippines, told reporters that the agency was still facing coordination problems and bottlenecks. "As of [today], personally, I am not so sure that we’ve reached every single portion of the territory where people are in need of aid. And, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised…that, [on] day eleven of this disaster, there might be very isolated islands [that have not received help]."

To date, the international community has committed aid and cash for Haiyan recovery efforts totaling some $248 million. With an estimated 11 million people in nine regions affected by the storm, however, at least $300 million in emergency funding is still needed, the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C, reports. Recent pledges include an additional $5 million from the American Red Cross, bringing the organization’s  total commitment for relief and recovery efforts to $11 million, while Give2Asia has announced commitments from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund ($100,000), the Cigna Foundation ($25,000), Seagate Technology ($25,000), EMC Corporation (employee matching), H.B. Fuller Company($10,000), and the PepsiCo Foundation ($250,000).