Rebuilding in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan could cost $5.8 billion: Official

Messages are painted on a demolished street in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan on November 13, 2013 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.
Kevin Frayer

More than a week after Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines, officials are coming to grips with the international humanitarian mission to provide relief to survivors.

The typhoon, one of the strongest on record, left more than 5,000 people dead or missing and displaced an estimated 4 million Filipinos.

The government said on Tuesday that 24,770 rescue and relief workers, 1,306 vehicles, 104 ships and boats and 163 aircraft have been mobilized. Some 88 medical teams – 43 foreign and 45 local – are now providing relief across the Philippines.

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The military commander of the Visayas, Lieutenant General Roy Deveraturda, said that the government plans to ask countries to focus on providing aid to specific regions of the Philippines, rather than the country as a whole.

"We're planning to ask the British royal navy to concentrate on the western Visayas region to assess and deliver food, water and supplies to smaller islands,” he said. “We already have the Americans in Samar and Leyte and Israeli doctors and relief teams in northern tip of Cebu.”

The White House said that it is providing $37 million in humanitarian relief to the Philippines, double the aid it previously pledged. Five Americans died in the typhoon.

Arsenio Balisacan, economic planning secretary of the Philippines, said that the government estimates that the cost of rebuilding houses, schools and infrastructure in the Philippines could add up to $5.8 billion. The government will likely seek loans from development agencies for rebuilding, he added.

"There's been some improvement in the government's relief efforts," Peter Wallace, president of the Manila-based Wallace Business Forum consultancy, told the Guardian. "Being able to move to Manila a number of displaced people, provide them with sustenance, we see that happening now. Clearing of the roads have been done, which is also extremely important."