10:26 am - Saturday January 19, 2019

Typhoon Haiyan: Million Still Homeless A Year On

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A million people made homeless by Typhoon Haiyan are still living in tents and makeshift huts a year after 170mph winds devastated parts of the Philippines.

Oxfam says they are “dangerously exposed” as the typhoon season begins again.

More than 7,300 died or went missing when Haiyan tore through the central Philippines on 8 November, 2013.

Four million people were left without a home as one of the most ferocious typhoons ever to reach land flattened large areas of the country.

Only 1% of the necessary houses have been built, says Oxfam, and it wants the country’s government to ramp up efforts to relocate the 205,000 families still living in limbo.Philippine President Benigno Aquino has defended the speed of rebuilding, insisting it would be wrong to construct homes “haphazardly”.

The £2.3bn reconstruction plan for homes away from coastal danger areas was only signed off last week, and so far just a few thousand have gone up.

In a speech in the town of Guiuan on the eve of the anniversary, President Aquino said: “Curse me, criticise me but I believe I must do the right thing.

“I am impatient like everyone else but I have to stress that we can’t rebuild haphazardly.

“We have to build back better… let’s get it right the first time and the benefits should be permanent.”

But thousands demonstrated on Friday in Tacloban, the major city affected by the typhoon, and called for Mr Aquino to resign.People marched with banners and chanted “Noynoy Aquino, useless, remove!”

Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring said: “People are still living in overcrowded bunkhouses and in lean-to homes – if nothing is done to these areas the families living there are at risk from another typhoon in this increasingly storm hit area.”

The devastation caused by Haiyan prompted a massive international aid response.

The public alone donated more than £95m after a DEC charity committee appeal.

Aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious was also sent to the region with 500 tons of supplies and six helicopters to get to hard-to-reach areas.

Remembrance events on Saturday in Tacloban include a commemorative march, ringing of church bells, and a candle lighting ceremony.

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