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19 Nov, 2013

ILO Plans Emergency Jobs Programme for 5 million typhoon-hit Filipino workers


MANILA – Five million workers have been affected by the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that struck the Philippines last week, according to the latest ILO estimates.

“This figure is equivalent to the population of Norway,” said ILO Philippine Office Director Lawrence Jeff Johnson. “But this is not just a matter of numbers: these are people whose livelihoods have been destroyed and who are now living in uncertainty.”

“The reconstruction work that lies ahead is enormous. Emergency employment will be critical to clear up the roads and to restore community facilities and infrastructure. Equally important, it will provide people who have lost their livelihoods an opportunity to earn an income and to gain access to social protection while helping to rebuild their communities,” added Johnson.

Nearly half of all affected workers were in vulnerable employment, as defined in the Millennium Development Goals, before the typhoon hit. They worked in poor conditions, without any access to social protection and with little choice other than to accept or create whatever work they could find. “Assisting these workers and their families should be our number one priority,” said Johnson.

Emergency Employment programme

The Philippines is the world’s third-highest country at risk from disaster, and the government has placed emergency employment and early rebuilding of livelihoods at the forefront of its national disaster response strategy to help people return to a normal life as soon as possible.

Emergency employment programmes have been implemented in several areas across the Philippines that were affected by previous natural disasters.

“These types of programmes help survivors overcome the crisis by empowering them, but only as long as they include safe and decent working conditions, such as minimum wages, protective equipment, guidance on safety and health, social protection and health insurance,” Johnson said.

The ILO has deployed six teams to the most affected areas: Tacloban City (Leyte), Roxas City (Panay), Busuanga (Palawan /Coron), Northern Cebu, Negros Occidental and Bohol, which is just recovering from the earthquake.

The teams are working closely with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as well as with local governments, business and workers’ organizations.

Click here to see graphic.