For immediate release
19 February 2014
Lessons from Japan’s tsunami to aid Philippines Typhoon Haiyan victims
Tokyo (ILO NEWS)-100 days after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, a high-level delegation organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and led by Roslinda Baldoz, Secretary for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), visited Japan to learn more about natural disaster recovery and gather experiences that can help create a long-term rebuilding strategy for Typhoon Haiyan victims.
During the tour, the delegation, which included representatives from the Philippines’ labour unions and Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) visited coastal areas of Iwate Prefecture, one of the three provinces severely devastated by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and great tsunami of 11 March 2011. In some of the places visited the final stages of debris clearance have been completed and reconstruction has begun although many people are still in temporary housing.
Secretary Baldoz met some local residents in the disaster areas and expressed her sympathy. “I came from the Philippines and we have experienced great loss too,” she said. She also noted that rebuilding should not only focus on roads and infrastructure but also on people’s lives and livelihoods.
Delegation members agree that creating and providing decent work opportunities will be the key to the long-term success of the response in the Philippines. Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Country Director of the ILO in the Philippines said, “Ensuring all those affected have opportunities to engage in decent work to support themselves, their families and their local communities is key to making sure the recovery is successful in the long run”.
Delegates noted that three years after the tsunami hit Japan, the private sector in the disaster-affected communities has started their own self-help initiatives to restore businesses and create many decent jobs that are also sustainable. They recognised that programmes in the Philippines supporting livelihood recovery will need to remain active long after most other aid initiatives end.
To support recovery efforts related to Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda), the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has donated US$ 2.5 million to the ILO. Yoshiteru Uramoto, the ILO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific who took part in the study trip, expressed his gratitude to the Japanese government. “We at the ILO feel that providing decent work and employment opportunities is the key to sustainable recovery,” he said. “It is good to be able to share knowledge and experiences of responding to disasters between Japan and the Philippines. We are committed to supporting such endeavours and this study trip and the financial support shown by Japan shows others also believe this approach is the way forward”.
The ILO has been working to offer disaster-affected people a pathway to re-establish their livelihoods and regain their self-reliance since day one of the disaster. As the focus of recovery in the Philippines is moving away from immediate humanitarian concerns, others are also looking at how to support such strategies.
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