Students submit boxes filled with coins donated by residents to help rebuild devastated communities (photo: Amiel Cagayan)
Three months after Typhoon Washi devastated parts of Mindanao, international aid agencies yesterday said they are now focusing efforts on the “early recovery” of communities affected by the disaster. "The focus now is on full recovery and slowly moving from the emergency situation," said Laurie Wise of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She said they are now working on re-building communities around the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Cocoy Nava of the International Organization for Migration said international aid agencies have sent enough resources to build 8,000 houses but there is not enough land to build on. Nava said available land provided by the government can only accommodate 5,000 houses. The government's social welfare department, meanwhile, reported that 1,000 permanent shelters will be turned over to survivors by April 15. The agency aims to relocate at least 3,000 families by the end of the year. The disaster brought about by the typhoon that hit Mindanao on December 17 led to a massive relief operation that involved the evacuation of around 100,000 people. The disaster left 8,559 families homeless in Cagayan de Oro and 6,404 in Iligan. The combined death toll in both areas reached 1,257.