World Bank releases $500m for Philippine flood

The World Bank said on Thursday that it had released $500-million to help the Philippine government’s recovery and reconstruction efforts after Tropical Storm Washi tore through the country, killing more than 1 200 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

“In natural disasters, it is the poor, including many women and children, who are particularly vulnerable,” said World Bank acting country director Chiyo Kanda.

“We hope the funds will give the Philippine government flexibility to help families and communities recover, reconstruct vital infrastructure and restore basic social services, as well as enhance the country’s preparedness for natural disasters in the future,” she said.

Tropical Storm Washi brought heavy rains, overflowing rivers and flash floods to the southern Philippines from December 16 to 18, sweeping away whole villages built on sandbars and riverbanks.

The southern port cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan bore the brunt of the disaster, and suffered most of the fatalities.

More than 376 000 people were displaced by the storm and almost 55 000 are still huddled in crowded makeshift evacuation centres, the Philippine disaster council said.—AFP

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