More aid for Philippines recovery

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Norway’s foreign minister has pledged an extra NOK 50 million (USD 8.1 million) to the typhoon recovery effort during  a visit to the Philippines. Børge Brende arrived in Tacloban on Wednesday, one of the areas worst hit when a deadly typhoon battered the island nation in November.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende surveys the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, and the recovery work underway to rebuild whole villages in the Philippines. PHOTO: Utenriksdepartementet/Astrid Sehl

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende surveys the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, and the recovery work underway to rebuild whole villages in the Philippines. PHOTO: Utenriksdepartementet/Astrid Sehl

Typhoon Haiyan struck on November 8, 2013. The death toll is estimated at over 6,000 people, and United Nations figures put the number of people displaced at over four million.

The extra money takes the Norwegian government’s total donation to NOK 255 million, making it the third biggest donor behind the United States and Britain. In addition, Norwegians raised more than NOK 22 million through charity. Yet the UN said its early recovery appeal has only covered around 40 percent of the work to be done.

Brende met with a fishing community devastated by the storm. “The disaster totally destroyed all of the fishing boats, and few fishermen have the money to get the boat repaired or buy a new one,” Marc Montalban, the village leader’s son, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). The foreign minister said Norway can help get the fishing industry going again. “Then people can begin earning money again could start rebuilding their own properties,” he said.

“It’s important that small communities are able to be better equipped to handle the next natural disaster. The Philippines will become increasingly more vulnerable to extreme weather events and natural disasters.” He said infrastructure should be built with the goal of preventing damage, rather than repairing it afterwards.

Brende will meet with government representatives in the capital Manila on Thursday to discuss Norway’s involvement in the Philippines. The two countries have strong ties, and Norway is home to a large Filipino community.

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate