Saturday, November 23, 2013

ILO sees 5.2m more jobless due to storm

INTERNATIONAL labor organizations which had been helping in providing aid to victims of supertyphoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas predicted on Friday that an estimated 5.2 million workers from the affected region would be jobless in the next few years. 

The International Labor Organization, which has its own people working on the ground in devastated areas in Leyte and Samar, along with representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations urged the government to immediately start providing temporary employment to people who were displaced by supertyphoon Yolanda, particularly those who were engaged in “vulnerable employment’ such as farmers and fishermen.

“As of today, over 5.2 million workers were affected and have lost their livelihoods either temporarily or permanently,” said ILO director Lawrence Jeff Johnson said.

Johnson said that half of this figure, or around 2.3 million, were engaged in “vulnerable employment,” or jobs that people accept because of poverty.

He added that the government must place emergency employment and livelihood at the forefront of disaster response to ensure that people’s lives would return to normal at the soonest possible time.

FAO-UN’s Vinet Rodriguez, meanwhile, said that the government must immediately “redeem” the livelihood of the community, especially the farmers and fishermen.

“Farmers need to replant their rice not. If not, they have to wait for the next planting season next year,” said Rodriguez, who added that failure to do so would mean that people will be forced to rely on aids for months.

“[The government] must start to rebuild livelihood, help them clean their land, so we can help them back again,” he added.

Johnson said that emergency employment will be critical in clearing up the roads and in restoring community facilities and infrastructure.

“The reconstruction work that lies ahead is enormous... equally important, it will provide people who have lost their livelihoods an opportunity to earn income and to gain access to social protection while helping to rebuild their communities,” he said.

He added that “these types of programs 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.

After Yolanda left Eastern Visayas, the ILO had deployed six teams to the hard-hit areas in Tacloban City in Leyte, Roxas City in Panay, Busungan in Palawan or Coron, Northern Cebu, Negros Occidental and Bohol, which is still recovering from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
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