Philippines admits delays in rebuilding two years after Haiyan

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Manila (dpa) – There have been delays in building new houses for millions of people left homeless in the Philippines by the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall two years ago, the government said Saturday.

Typhoon Haiyan, which struck on November 8, 2013, left nearly 8,000 people dead or missing and displaced more than 4 million.

“We admit that there are still challenges that we are facing but we are continuing to push the projects to build back better,” deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said on the eve of Haiyan’s anniversary.

The challenges include policies on procurement and land acquisition, which has slowed down the purchase of supplies, as well as the numerous required permits and clearances, the government said.

Despite some hindrances, Valte said a lot of progress has already been made in rehabilitating the areas devastated by Haiyan, especially in the central provinces of Leyte and Samar, which were hardest hit.

“A lot of lessons were learned from Haiyan and we are applying these to other disasters that hit us,” she added.

Hundreds of victims of Haiyan held a march on Friday in Tacloban City to protest what they alleged was the slow progress in the reconstruction efforts, with many still living in temporary bunkhouses.

According to the National Housing Authority, more than 205,100 houses were needed to be built to relocate victims of Haiyan away from danger zones. So far, only 17,641 units have been completed by the government.

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