Typhoon-battered Philippines have felt the impact of super storm Haiyan (Yolanda) as the 315-kph Category 5 Hurricane-equivalent massively destroyed homes, crops and infrastructure in the central part of the country, particularly provinces located in the Visayas.
Children play as they pass debris and damaged houses after super typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban City, in central Philippines - (Reuters)
While efforts are currently focused on delivery of relief goods to the damaged towns and cities, the economic impact of the storm would be felt in the coming months as millions of livelihood were lost, while not all businesses would have an opportunity to restart for lack of insurance.
Bloomberg reports that while total damage to properties is estimated at $14.5 billion, the insurance bill would amount to only $700 million or less than 5 per cent of the total estimated damage, quoting figures from catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide.
With an average of 20 typhoons visiting the country yearly, Maplecroft, a research company in Bath, England, said the Philippines is one of the countries at high risk of natural disasters. Yearly, the Southeast Asian country suffers from an average loss of $1.6 billion which is the highest in the region, said the Asian Development Bank.
Haiyan has affected an estimated 10 million Filipinos in 41 provinces, prompting the government to declare a state of national calamity.
Meanwhile, the UN's early assessment said that up to 5.1 million Filipino workers from 36 provinces have lost their source of livelihoods as Yolanda destroyed crops and businesses.
In Tacloban City, probably the hardest hit areas, some tenants of commercial buildings whose businesses were lost, abandoned the edifice while families who lost their homes used the buildings as temporary shelter.
However, in areas not as badly damaged as Tacloban, such as Eastern Samar province, signs of commerce are showing up as some traders opened makeshift stalls to sell fish, eggs, chicken and bananas. But despite the 50 per cent drop in prices of seafood, few were buying since some of the bodies recovered had crabs and prawns clinging on the corpses.
Some enterprising residents also recovered goods from the wreckage still usable such as soft drinks, soap powder in sachets and cooking oil, and selling them in small stores.
However, the province's coconut industry would take time to recover since 80 per cent of coconut trees were felled by Yolanda and it would take young coconut trees 3 to 5 years before they bear fruit.