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ILO: 2.2 million workers affected by Typhoon Odette in the Philippines

Surigao after Super Typhoon Odette

One month since Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) hit the Philippines, a new ILO assessment reveals nearly 2.2 million workers have been directly affected.

MANILA, Philippines (ILO News) – Almost 2.2 million workers have been directly affected by Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) , which slammed into the Philippines in December 2021 according to a rapid assessment [1] carried out by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Although the typhoon hit parts of 10 regions in the country, the impact on employment varied. Amongst the regions hardest hit were Western Visayas that saw 21 per cent (672,000) of the workforce affected, Eastern Visayas with 19 per cent (343,000); and Central Visayas with 18 per cent (643,000). Meanwhile, in Caraga, nearly one-third of the region’s entire workforce (363,000) was impacted.

The typhoon devastated millions of lives and livelihoods and has dealt a huge blow to the socio-economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the onslaught of the typhoon, the United Nations called the impact ‘a crisis within a crisis’ since the country is barely recovering from the pandemic, and currently addressing a spike in cases.

The ILO assessment highlights how the typhoon has affected the most vulnerable, and worsened pre-existing labour market challenges. Nearly 38 per cent (839,000) of the total affected workers are women. Prior to the typhoon, about 3 in 5 of these impacted women workers were in low paid jobs mostly in agriculture, wholesale and retail trade or domestic work. Young people and older workers are also amongst those significantly affected.

“It is heart-breaking to see how Typhoon Odette has affected already vulnerable workers with limited capacity to earn, less income security, and lack of social protection. A human centred recovery is vital, one which places decent work and sustainable livelihoods at the heart of efforts to build back better,” said Hideki Kagohashi, Enterprise Development Specialist of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.

The ILO will conduct field assessment and mobilize resources to start rebuilding efforts. This will be done in coordination with the government through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) , workers and employers’ organizations, indigenous peoples, affected communities, and key partners. ILO will also assist affected regions under some of its existing projects for a human-centred recovery through decent work and sustainable livelihood.

[1] The rapid assessment  extends on established ILO methodologies used previously to support post-disaster recovery efforts, including the Super Typhoon Haiyan response in 2013. The assessment is based on information published daily by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on families and persons affected by Typhoon Odette, baseline data from the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) 2020 Population Census and recent quarterly national labour force surveys.

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