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20K workers in Yolanda-hit areas get emergency employment

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Over 20,000 workers who lost their livelihoods are taking part in the emergency employment programs to speed up recovery after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Workers hired this year alone will help rebuild their communities within decent and safe working conditions.

"Emergency employment provides a chance to reach out to workers and their families. This means making a difference in the lives of over 100,000 people by the end of 2013," said Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines, in a statement.

The ILO is working with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ensure that emergency employment programs are implemented from day one in areas badly hit by the super typhoon.

According to the ILO, engaging local communities can create a multiplier effect which will lead to real and lasting recovery.

Emergency employment programs help improve working and living conditions by ensuring adequate wages, effective safety and health, skills development and social protection such as accident and health insurance as mandated by national laws and standards.

"Workers regain their strength and dignity. They are also motivated to work because they are aware that their families and communities will benefit from the emergency employment programs. More importantly, ensuring decent work for one person can support an entire family and boost the local economy. For real impact, it must be done in a sustainable way, something that this approach in partnership with the government addresses," said Johnson.

The ILO, DSWD and DOLE approach consists of an immediate short-term emergency employment, which will transition to medium-term labour-based community work, skills training and enterprise development.

This approach has been used in countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste to help the vulnerable who suffer the most in crisis and disasters.

Of the 5.9 million affected workers after Typhoon Yolanda, 2.6 million were already in vulnerable employment and living at or near the poverty line even before the typhoon, according to ILO estimates.

Workers in vulnerable employment are often forced to accept or create whatever work is available just so they and their loved-ones can survive another day.

About 3 million or half of the workers affected were in the services sector. Over one third, or 1.9 million, were in agriculture and around 16 per cent or 1 million in the industry sector.

Given the impact on people's lives and livelihoods, the ILO underscored the urgency of helping typhoon-affected communities and supporting the Philippine government in rebuilding through emergency employment and sustainable livelihoods.

COUNTRY OFFICE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT EMERGENCY EMPLOYMENT HAIYAN ILO LAWRENCE JEFF JOHNSON SRI LANKA AND TIMOR LESTE TYPHOON YOLANDA WORKERS
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