Red Cross looking for land for ‘Yolanda’ victims’ homes
MANILA, Philippines—Building “better” houses for the families displaced by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last November remains a challenge for the senior officials of the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement who were in Manila for a two-day meeting on the long-term recovery plan for the devastated areas in the Visayas.
“The problem is to find land on which we could build,” Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chair Richard Gordon told a news conference on Thursday.
Gordon, a former senator, said the PRC was relying on efforts of the government to find land for its housing program.
So far, the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement have raised 300 million Swiss francs (P15 billion) for the project.
Gordon said the National Housing Authority had identified 50 hectares of land that could be a location for the PRC houses for the typhoon survivors.
He said that after finding land for the project, the international organizations helping in the recovery efforts must build better houses that could withstand winds up to 250 kilometers per hour.
“We would like to build homes that we think can withstand [powerful typhoons but are not] exorbitant [in price],” Gordon said, adding that each house will cost P250,000.
He said the PRC planned to build at least 30,000 houses for the typhoon survivors.
The PRC intends to complete the housing project before the end of the year, but Gordon said that would be impossible because of the long typhoon season.
In the meantime, Gordon said the survivors would be staying in temporary shelters that the Red Cross had provided them.
Gordon said the PRC would follow the “no-build zone” policy of the Aquino administration for areas within 40 meters of shorelines.
With Gordon at the news conference was Jagan Chapagain, director of the International Federation of Red Cross, the world’s largest humanitarian network.
“The challenges are enormous. It will take a couple of years for the recovery. It will not be a quick solution,” Chapagain said.
A Red Cross assessment of the typhoon-ravaged areas found that poverty is delaying recovery. The assessment team recommended a focus on shelter and livelihood for greater impact.
“Communities have shown extraordinary resolve in rebuilding their lives after this disaster, which has decimated thousands of livelihood,” said Alain Aeschlimann, the International Committee of the Red Cross’ head of operations for the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are seeking to help the most vulnerable, often located in more remote, inaccessible areas where aid does not always easily reach them,” he said.
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