TACLOBAN CITY – Nearly 11 months after supertyphoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) devastated across the Philippines, the U.S. government continues to partner with the Philippines on recovery and rebuilding efforts. Last October 3, U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Gloria D. Steele led the turnover of two school buildings at the Tacloban National Agricultural School (TNAS). The schools—containing ten of the more than 165 classrooms to be built by the U.S. government in the Philippines—are designed to withstand winds up to 360 kilometers per hour and an 8.5 earthquake. Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez joined the ceremonies and thanked the American people for their on-going support. Angelica Dupa, an 8th grade student at TNAS, also expressed gratitude: “We will no longer be scared of typhoons and other calamities because the new classrooms are stronger than the ones we occupied.”

All of these continued reconstruction and recovery efforts are part of the USAID Rebuild project. Under the Rebuild project, the U.S. government is also working with Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble to reconstruct and restock 1,000 sari-sari stores. Store owners will be trained in basic store management and micro-credit. Director Steele also gave assistance to the Barangay Basper Farmers Association, the TNAS General Parent-Teacher Association, the Tagpuro Women’s Seaweed Association, and the Old Kawayan Fisherfolks Association. Overall, the U.S. government’s support to the Philippines for Typhoon Yolanda recovery is estimated at $142.5 million.

“The projects we see today are born from the strong partnership between the U.S. and Philippine governments. As we work together in planting the seeds of recovery, we also direct our efforts toward ensuring that you will be stronger and better equipped to face future disasters,” Director Steele said. Director Steele concluded her visit to the city by inspecting the ongoing construction of a USAID-funded school building with eight classrooms at the San Fernando Central School, and a tuberculosis clinic at the City Health Office. She also went to Ormoc, Leyte to launch the U.S. government’s “Preventing Trafficking in Persons through Sustainable Livelihood Recovery for Typhoon Affected People” project. The project aims to reduce the vulnerability of typhoon-affected populations to trafficking-in-persons. (PR)