No land found for homes for victims of ‘Sendong’
ILIGAN CITY—The lack of land is hindering efforts to build permanent houses for families made homeless by Tropical Storm “Sendong” here in December last year, a United Nations (UN) agency said.
In its recent Philippine Humanitarian Bulletin, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said at least 18 hectares of land was needed “to complete the planned housing construction” for Sendong victims.
UN OCHA said because of the lack of resettlement areas here, only 5,675 houses can be built on existing land out of the 9,903 permanent houses that donors had committed to build.
Areas earlier tagged as relocation sites had been found to be in geohazard zones that had been identified as such by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
The city government has formed an interagency task force last January to search for areas that could be used as permanent relocation sites. Eight months after, however, no land suitable for relocation sites had been found, UN OCHA said.
At least 3,205 people displaced at the height of Sendong here are still staying in tents, bunk houses and public facilities, according to the UN agency.
In Cagayan de Oro, which was also devastated by Sendong, at least 287 families are still living in shelters, said UN OCHA.
The delay in relocating the displaced in Cagayan de Oro, however, is caused mainly by the delay in the construction of houses, not by lack of land.
Close to 2,000 people died when Sendong brought floods to this city and Cagayan de Oro. The storm also loosened hundreds of illegally cut timber that pummeled hundreds of residents of the two cities to their deaths.
Authorities and many residents blamed illegal logging for most of the deaths in the two cities. Shortly after the tragedy, President Aquino issued an executive order banning the cutting of trees in natural growth forests.
The implementation of the EO led to the seizure of hundreds of cubic meters of illegal logs. Ryan Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao
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