Bangkok(ILO News) – Six months after a devastating tsunami struck the coastal regions ofAsia, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is now fully engaged in its largest ever regional income generation and social protection effort, aimed at helping restore the employment and livelihoods of people affected by the disaster. The ILO estimates more than one million people in these countries lost their capacity to earn a living as a result of the disaster.
ILO projects – involving some US$11 million in contributions fromAustralia,Belgium,Canada,European Union,Finland,Italy, theNetherlands,New Zealand,Sweden,United Kingdom,United Statesand the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – are now underway inIndia,Indonesia,Sri LankaandThailand. In each country the ILO’s interventions are being co-ordinated with the work of the local UN Country Team, as well as with other international and local organizations.
In the badly-hit Aceh province of Indonesia, the ILO, working with local authorities, has established Employment Service Centers, helping tens of thousands of people with their search for work. Similar efforts are being pursued in India and Thailand.
Some workers in the four hardest-hit countries have recovered some means of generating income. For example, in Sri Lanka, some 60 per cent of the 400,000 people affected by the disaster have recovered some form of employment. Yet, the ILO says the vast majority of those affected in the four countries are still unable to earn a decent living.
“The ILO has taken part in impact and needs assessments and provided technical assistance and policy advice to governments to help them develop income generation and employment creation strategies. We have also given direct assistance with rebuilding infrastructure, re-establishing employment services and revitalizing local economic activities and livelihood programmes,” said Mr. Shinichi Hasegawa, ILO Regional Director forAsiaand the Pacific.
Mr. Hasegawa added, “the ILO believes employment creation should be an explicit and central objective of the economic and social reconstruction effort”, noting that the organization is supporting the policies of national and local authorities who recognize that a critical part of rebuilding lives is getting people back into work.
The ILO also cautioned that during the tsunami recovery and reconstruction, special efforts are required to protect the rights of vulnerable groups, particularly orphaned girls and boys, the bereaved and the disabled. The concerns of employers’ and workers’ organizations, and government agencies, which have lost their human and financial capacity, are also being addressed.
Reconstruction and full recovery is a long-term process. Together with Governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, the ILO has been delivering assistance to the affected communities. Many of these programmes have just started and will begin to show their impact in the second half of 2005.
More information on the ILO’s tsunami work can be found on the regional office website /asia
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