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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

UPU to help renovate Tacloban postal facility in the Philippines

18.03.2014 - The UPU will help the Philippine Post renovate its Tacloban postal facility, severely damaged by Typhoon Haiyan last November on the island of Leyte.

Renovation of the Tacloban postal facility will enable it to resume its function as a mail distribution hub serving 40 post offices in the region
The three-storey postal facility housed a post office and a distribution centre serving about 40 post offices in towns throughout Leyte, Samar and the Eastern Samar region. Forty-four people worked there.
The facility needs to be completely renovated. The typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, broke windows, slanted walls, ruptured roofs, destroyed equipment and cut off the electrical supply. Renovation costs are estimated at about 100,000 CHF, and work is expected to start in July.
The UPU will use money from its Emergency and Solidarity Fund to help with the reconstruction effort, and work with the United Nations Development Programme in Manilla to hire the necessary suppliers and purchase materials.
The rebuilding effort is part of an emergency assistance plan developed after a joint UPU-United States Postal Service (USPS) mission sent experts to the Philippines in February to assess damages, as part of the UPU’s activities in technical assistance and risk management.
The UPU’s regional project coordinator in Bangkok and four American postal inspectors travelled to Manilla and Tacloban in February to establish an inventory of damages caused to postal buildings and evaluate the provisional delivery network’s security measures. 
Thirty-seven post offices were affected by Yolanda, according to PHLPost, which severely hit the Visayas region, especially the islands of Samar and Leyte. Buildings were damaged or destroyed, and many postal vehicles and equipment were lost. To date, only a dozen of the affected post offices have resumed operations.

Post part of relief efforts

Since the typhoon, PHLPost has managed to re-establish basic postal services where post offices have been secured. 
In January and February, PHLPost partnered with the national Department of Social Welfare and Development through Landbank of the Philippines to bring cash grants to about 18,000 beneficiaries of the United Nations-World Food Programme in Leyte and Samar. PHLPost served those areas where automated teller machines of Landbank were unavailable.
Some 200 postal employees worked in the area ravaged by Yolanda. All have been accounted for, but many are suffering from trauma, says PHLPost Postmaster General Josephina Dela Cruz.
“We have lived through many storms, but this one was something else. We really appreciated the response from the UPU and its member countries. It pays to be part of the UPU community,” she added.
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