World Bank announces USD 62-M fund for typhoon-affected communities

By Perla G. Lena

TANAUAN, Leyte, July 14 (PNA) — World Bank president Jim Yong Kim on Monday announced an additional USD 62 million in support of the reconstruction efforts of the Philippine government in communities affected by typhoon Yolanda.

Kim who made Leyte his first stop for the first time he set foot in the Philippines for a two-day visit said that the fund is part of the USD 508.25-million Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) that will be submitted by the World Bank group to its Board of Executive Directors next month.

He said that the project will be implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and will “help rebuild 230 kilometers of damaged farm-to market-roads and help boost productivity and income to farmers and fishermen.”

The fund is a loan to the Philippine government with a very minimal interest and comes with technical assistance, he added.

The executive’s visit to typhoon-hit communities in Leyte was to look into the progress on the ground some eight months after Yolanda and likewise look into how WB can provide further interventions.

“I have seen lots of devastation and I express to the people of this community my deepest condolences for the losses both human and materials. But I have also seen the tremendous resilience of the Filipino people and they want to get back to where they were before,” he said.

He also affirmed the commitment of the World Bank to work with the Philippine government citing that there is still much to do.

World Bank earlier announced close to USD 1-billion in financial assistance it had released in the immediate aftermath of Yolanda.

Kim accompanied by other World Bank executives and Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen made several site visits of communities in Palo and Tanauan, two of the badly hit towns of Leyte.

Sites visited included the “Bahay Kubo-Kimchi Demonstration Farm” in Palo and a shelter resettlement project Bislig Elementary School all in Tanauan.

The Bahay Kubo-Kimchi Demonstration Farm situated in the five-hectare plot and in Anahayway village will host Korean and other green leafy vegetables to increase food supply and provide livelihood opportunities through agriculture and livestock.

The shelter project on the other hand caters to residents who lost their houses that used to be situated in coastal barangays and included in the no build zone. It accommodates 381 houses; 48 units have been turned over to their recipients.

Meanwhile, a one–storey school building is being constructed in Bislig. (PNA)