January 10, 2013
The cost of typhoon reconstruction this year could reach $3.1 billion, more than 50% higher than initially estimated, as the Philippines seeks to build back better and put in safeguards for future disasters. From Reuters:
The total cost of a four-year reconstruction effort may also end up steeper than the current estimate of 361 billion pesos, Florencio Abad said.
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms to make landfall anywhere, reduced almost everything in its path to rubble when it swept ashore in the central Philippines on November 8, killing at least 6,190 people, leaving 1,785 missing and 4 million either homeless or with damaged homes.
“The plan was 90 billion (pesos) for the year, but I think it will be more,” Abad told Reuters in his Manila office, adding typhoon-related spending would reach 138 billion pesos.
“I don’t think they (reconstruction planners) have factored in the need to introduce resiliency. So that will be 10-30 percent more.”
Apart from the immediate need for temporary shelter, providing jobs and restoring water, health and sanitation services, the government underestimated other costs, including that of identifying and documenting the dead before they are buried.
“There is an international standard for doing it, before you bury them, that wasn’t factored in. That’s a lot of money already,” Abad said, adding the government could adequately finance a higher post-typhoon spending bill this year.
Manila has set aside funding of 54 billion pesos for the rebuilding effort from a supplemental budget passed late last year, this year’s national budget, savings, calamity and other funds. At least 80 billion pesos more would come from concessional loans offered by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
“We can fund it. The question is can we absorb it? That is why we have to start early,” Abad said.
Going forward, the Philippines, which is hit by an average 20 typhoons a year, is considering not only building typhoon-resilient structures but also permanent evacuation centers equipped with generators and supplies – an initiative that wasn’t part of initial plans.
Global Health and Development Beat
Family Planning - Women in China are being forced into abortions due to the nation’s population limit policies.
E-Health - A project in Zambia is connecting people who have no access to doctors to medical professionals on the other side of the world.
South Sudan - A ceasefire is urgently needed so that aid agencies can take medicine, food, plastic sheeting and other emergency supplies to tens of thousands of civilians trapped by fighting in South Sudan, say groups on the ground.
Respiratory Health - The Chilean government issued a public health warning regarding the threat posed by recent forest fires. (in Spanish)
MSF - Says the conditions are dire for the roughly 75,000 South Sudanese seeking shelter along the Nile.
FEWS-Net - Issued a new warning of a potential food crisis in parts of South Sudan, due in part of the recent conflict.
UNICEF - Is supporting health officials in Liberia who are launching a campaign to vaccinate some 100,000 children against pneumonia.
Spotlight on PSI
HIV/AIDS - PSI sponsored theater performances in Zimbabwe over the past year to support the growth of the Association of Community Theatre Artists and shows that targeted HIV/AIDS prevention.
Buzzing in the Blogs
A Gates Foundation-supported concept aims to package and brand condoms that women will buy. From Fast Company:
Mine products are packaged in such a way that women will feel more comfortable having them out on their bedside table or in their grocery bags,” says Mansi Gupta, one the students involved in the project. “We hope to encourage more women to buy condoms, thus adopting healthier sexual behaviors.”
At the start of their project, Gupta, Emi Yasaka, Willy Chan, and Rona Binay surveyed 207 people (70% women) to understand their feelings about condoms. Three-quarters (77%) said they felt embarrassed buying the product, while 60% said they believed women who carry condoms are promiscuous.
The students decided to create packaging that’s less male-oriented, as you can see from the slide show. They also designed refillable bedside holders, and a tube that houses condoms and tampons together. Pairing condoms with everyday products should reduce the potential for embarrassment, they figured.
“If condoms currently make women feel like they are not the target audience and they should not be buying them, Mine is aimed to oppose that feeling and change that stigma,” Gupta says.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which wants to see a “positive shift in women’s sexual health,” set the challenge for the SVA team. Gupta says the CDC may help make Mine a commercial reality, possibly by working with existing condom or female hygiene companies. But first the students need to do more testing, and get feedback on what they’ve come up with so far.
It may take more than packaging to change stereotypes, but getting women more involved in sexual health ought to be an idea that pays dividends.
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
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