54,000 families are still homeless

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10:45 PM January 30th, 2013

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January 30th, 2013 10:45 PM

DAVAO CITY—At least 54,000 families in areas devastated by Typhoon “Pablo” are still homeless two months after the storm destroyed their homes and sources of livelihood, according to a foreign official helping in an international effort to provide aid to the storm survivors.

Tom Bamforth, coordinator of a group that was put together to provide shelters to the storm survivors, said providing homes to the storm victims would require at least $10 million.

Bamforth said groups helping the survivors have so far provided shelters to 42,000 families in Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley but there are simply too many people displaced by Pablo in December last year.

Luiza Carvalho, United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the Philippines, said in a statement that “the need for shelter remains critical” as Pablo destroyed or rendered uninhabitable at least 216,000 houses.

Carvalho said Pablo was the deadliest storm internationally last year and the most powerful to slam into Southern Mindanao.

Bamforth said groups that partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have been striving to provide survivors with their needs, including shelters, but additional funds are needed to make these endeavors successful.

Christie Bacal, reporting and donor relations officer of International Organization for Migration (IOM), said the temporary shelters being provided to typhoon victims might look very simple as these are made mostly of “nipa and coconut lumber” but recipients consider these more than enough to start getting back on their feet.

Bacal said shelter kits were distributed even to families rebuilding their homes in areas classified as “no-build zones” but these families were requested to “follow preevacuation procedures once a disaster warning is raised.”

Priscilla Razon, DSWD director for Southern Mindanao, said the agency had planned to roll out its P4-billion core shelter program that seeks to build 34,000 housing units in March.

The core houses will be built in areas certified as risk-free by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), she said.

The United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) has launched a fresh appeal for donations, this time, targeting $48 million.

Eva Modrig, Ocha communications officer, told reporters here that the money would be used to fund 46 projects in Pablo-devastated areas.

She said the funds that would be raised would support rehabilitation efforts during the next six months.

Modrig said the effect of Pablo was so enormous, which explains why the rehabilitation efforts needed more funds.

Pablo was considered a category 5 typhoon, according to reports by various weather monitoring agencies including those operated by the US government.

Based on data from Ocha, Pablo left a swath of devastation in an area where at least 6.2 million people lived and displaced at least 850,000 people. Ayan Mellejor and Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao

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