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November 2014

Finally, the long, slow work of recovery can begin … a year after Yolanda

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TACLOBAN/MANILA, Philippines — Lorna Per, 19, was pregnant when super typhoon Yolanda’s powerful storm surge swept into Leyte, claiming her husband as he tried to protect her from being swept away.

“My world turned upside down. I still remember very well the dirty, murky water drowning my family and my neighbors. Many have died and been left homeless. How can one forget November 8?” Per said as she held back her tears, recalling the horrific day one year ago.

Yolanda affected 171 cities and municipalities in 14 provinces and six regions, destroying or damaging more than a million homes, leaving more than 6,000 people dead — at least by the official count — and a thousand more missing, and displacing some 4.1 million.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, in a report released in September, said Yolanda caused the largest displacement in the world last year.

Even as government, caught unprepared by the magnitude of the disaster, struggled to cobble together a credible response, the international community and aid organizations, both foreign and local, swiftly mobilized, sending huge amounts of aid and manpower as millions of dollars were pledged towards relief and recovery.

Despite this, a year on, progress on a large enough scale remains hard to come by in the provinces struck by Yolanda.

And for many, the search for loved ones lost to the storm continues even as they struggle to rebuild their lives and communities.

This is not to say no work has taken place.

Signs of recovery dot the landscape.

The Tacloban public market is bustling again a year since Yolanda (photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.com)

Yet this pales when one considers that a year after, close to 1 million people remain in makeshift shelters and bunkhouses “dangerously exposed to future typhoons,” as the international aid agency Oxfam noted in a report.

Thousands remain jobless or have yet to regain their means of livelihood, especially farmers and small fisherfolk.

In many places, the rubble from damaged homes and infrastructure has yet to be cleared.

Even the government has acknowledged that rehabilitation seems to be taking too long even if officials maintain that things are right where they expected them to be a year after Yolanda, given the complexity of the problems the country faces.

Master-plan

Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson said the signing of the P167.9-billion Yolanda Comprehensive and Rehabilitation Plan by President Benigno Aquino III, 10 days before the first anniversary of the disaster, would help speed up the rehabilitation work.

The 8,000-page, eight-volume masterplan was submitted to Malacanang by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR), which Lacson heads, on August 1.

“It did not come out of thin air.  It was borne out of horizontal integration of national agencies that OPARR organized into five clusters each headed by a Cabinet Secretary and the vertical integration of data contributed by the different local government units across the Yolanda corridor,” and made possible through an innovative top-down/bottom up approach which was not tried before,” Lacson told Interaksyon.com.

The plan lists the funding requirements for the following areas of work:

Infrastructure — P35,148,634,408
Social Services —  P26,406,233,815
Resettlement  —  P75,678,683,100
Livelihood —  P30,631,237,230

Lacson, a former senator and national police chief, lamented that many people see the rehabilitation effort as a half-empty glass.

“It’s ironic and unfortunate that what we hear from our fellow Filipinos within and outside the Yolanda corridor are negative commentaries and at times cruel criticisms,” even as “foreign observers like those from the United Nations, Asian Development Bank, and other international NGO’s who have had vast experiences in assisting rehabilitation efforts in other calamity stricken countries around the globe have consistently commended the rehabilitation and recovery efforts of the Philippine government as topping even Banda Aceh in Indonesia which is considered as the role model by the international community in reconstruction and rehabilitation.”

Lacson’s claim was backed by the Asian Development Bank which, in a recent forum, said rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Visayas were “moving faster” than that in in Aceh, Indonesia, when it was struck by an earthquake and tsunami 10 years ago

Stephen Groff, ADB vice president on East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, estimated that reconstruction in Yolanda-devastated areas could take four to five years, which he said is the usual amount of time it takes for areas in similar situations to recover.

A temporary shelter in Barangay Sto. Nino, Tacloban City (photo by Imelda Abano, InterAksyon.com)

Continued support

Local and international aid organizations have pledged to continue supporting the rehabilitation process.

Luisa Carvalho, United Nations Country Team resident and humanitarian coordinator in the Philippines, said, “building back better will be a complex and long process, particularly the rehabilitation of human settlements and the restoration of livelihoods.”

The UN Humanitarian Country Team served roughly 3.7 million people with food assistance; 82,000 mothers given feeding counsel; 23,000 pregnant and lactating women with prenatal and postnatal care; almost 1 million people with rehabilitated water systems; 350,000 with new or rehabilitated latrines; 570,000 households with emergency shelter; 162,000 households with emergency employment; 102,000 people provided information on prevention and management of gender-based violence in emergencies; 20,101 young people provided with information and services on health and protection; and 100,000 farmers with agricultural seeds and tools.

These were done in partnership with national agencies, local governments, donors, private sector, and civil society.

Carvalho said 4,900 temporary learning spaces were created, 545,000 children received learning materials, and public health outbreaks were effectively prevented.

The French business community also reaffirmed its commitment to complete two reconstruction projects in Northern Cebu early next year.

The France-Philippines United Action, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, has built 74 disaster-resilient houses on a 5,488-square-meter site in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu. The houses will be handed over to selected families before Christmas.

According to the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAITH, www.gov.ph.faith), the government’s online information portal for international calamity aid and assistance, total foreign aid pledged have reached P73.307 billion (P45.109 billion cash, P28.198 billion non-cash).

Of this amount, the government has received P17.248 billion broken down into: P1.195 billion, total cash received by government; P1.269 billion, total non-cash received by government; and, P14.760 billion total received by non-government organizations, multilateral groups, and others.

Aid too slow?

Given this huge amount of assistance, why then has help been slow in reaching survivors, lawmakers, especially those whose constituents were battered by the typhoon, have been asking.

“Judging from what I have been reading, there has been too much delay. Between the time of devastation and today, what we have seen thus far are plans and blueprints. The Executive must begin implementing,” Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao said.

With the rehabilitation masterplan finally approved, he said, government should now be making “bold moves” to show tangible benefits to the people, especially in terms of permanent housing and jobs.

AKO Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe stressed the need for improved response time and government agencies’ absorptive capacity to carry out the rehabilitation work.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, a staunch Palace ally and a stalwart of the ruling Liberal Party whose province was one of those that bore the brunt of the disaster, asked the Aquino administration to further intensify the programs for creating livelihood and permanent housing for the victims.

“The rehabilitation and reconstruction of public infrastructures are going on,” he said. “What should be given extra push are livelihood projects such as small agri-business, fishing, and farming, among others and resettlement.”

“Sadly the situation in the Yolanda areas has yet to normalize (and) a lot of the victims have yet to regain their footing as government’s best plans have yet to gain traction,” Abakada party-list Representative Jonathan dela Cruz said. “It will probably take sometime before the residents of the affected areas get back on their feet and move on.”

‘Another disaster’

But Gabriela party-list Representative Luz Ilagan described the government’s response as “another disaster.”

“From the very start, when politics reared its ugly head, the survivors were doomed,” she said.  “It’s been a year and yet many of the dead are not yet buried! Should that not have been the priority? Even the accounting of the casualties is a victim of P-Noy’s strange and stubborn refusal to accept the truth that the deaths reached more than 10,000.”

She described relief operations as selective and in disarray and said, “Only the valiant efforts of private groups saved the day.”

Proof of this “ineptitude and politicking,” she added, were the rotten relief goods that somehow ended up being distributed to survivors but for which no one has been punished.

Besides this, Ilagan said, “today, many survivors need counseling. Many have no income. The promised bunkhouses are cheap, flimsy and inadequate. They also suspiciously cost a lot. A dismal failure. Even with the appointment of a rehabilitation czar, what can he show as performance? Where did the billions of donations go?”

Makeshift homes rebuilt in a ‘no-build zone’ on the Tacloban shoreline (photo by Imelda Abano, InterAksyon.com)

Restoring livelihood, providing safe shelter

While acknowledging there has been “substantial improvement” in infrastructure since Yolanda struck, Evardone said government needs to intensify its efforts to provide permanent and safe housing to survivors and restore their sources of livelihood.

Yolanda practically wiped out the coconut trees in the Eastern Visayas provinces it struck, depriving residents of their main source of living.

“Coconut trees do not grow in a month or two. It takes five to seven years to grow one. Meantime, what will the farmers do?” Evardone said in a phone interview.

The free vegetable seeds given to farmers as an alternative source of livelihood did not amount to much because of the lack of markets for their produce.

Nakatambak na iyong mga gulay nilaang problemahindi naman nila lahat maibentaMay pagkain nga silawala namang pera (The vegetables were already stocked but the problem is they could not sell it all. They had food but no money),” Evardone said.

And while the Philippine Coconut Authority distributed coconut seeds, many of these were of poor quality.

As for housing, Evardone said: “It’s easy to give them (survivors) GI sheets so they could build their homes, but their homes are still sitting in the same dangerous spots, vulnerable to another storm surge.”

Questions of land ownership, exacerbated by the destruction of property and records, and the lack of public land where the survivors can build new homes, are thorny matters that the government should be addressing, he stressed.

Evardone lamented that some unscrupulous landowners jacked up the prices of their properties on learning that government was interested in buying these.

Ground zero, Tacloban

Like Per, more than 25,000 people in Leyte’s capital, one of the worst hit by the disaster, continue to live in makeshift shelters, bunkhouses and tents as they try to rebuild their lives.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez said many lessons have been learned from the Yolanda experience, among these that collaboration between and among local government units and the national government is vital in the event of such disasters.

One of the ships swept ashore by super typhoon Yolanda in Barangay Anibong, Tacloban City. Work to dismantle the vessel is ongoing. (photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.com)

“In a disaster as enormous as Haiyan (Yolanda’s international name), there were competing priorities. Coordination and preparation are two important things we need to consider. The national government must understand that in the case of Tacloban City, I admit that there was a lack of manpower, lack of provision of services and emergency operations considering the big population of the city at that time,” Romualdez said.

Asked about the priorities of the local government now, Romualdez said they drafted a nine-year Tacloban master plan prioritizing a more resilient economy, sustainable environment, a holistic approach and planning in all agencies, integrating urban planning and sustainable programs.

Housing crisis 

According to the Tacloban master plan, the city already had a complex and growing housing problem long before Yolanda.

The previous housing backlog, estimated to be 17,859 households, worsened after the typhoon destroyed or damaged 54,231 houses in the city, at least 10,000 of these belonging to poor families and informal settlers living along coastal areas hit by the storm surge.

But to date, only 400 permanent houses have been constructed.

Aron Agner, camp manager of the bunkhouses provided by the National Housing Authority in Sagkahan for 315 families, or 1,457 people, said while the government has been providing relief goods and other basic services for the survivors, many of the families still complain of overcrowding, limited sanitation and lack of livelihood.

“We have been trying to address the needs of the families who are now living in bunkhouses but we admit that the assistance has not been enough, which is why some of them decided to go back to their houses in the coastal communities,” Agner said.

Although the national government imposed a 40-meter “no build zone” from the shoreline, many makeshift shelters, tents and houses have been rebuilt in these areas.

“We cannot blame those people as most of the families live in the fishing communities here. But eventually, they will be offered permanent housing to move them out of the danger zones,” Agner said.

Rebuilt houses and makeshift shelters in Barangay Anibong, Tacloban City beside a sign designating the area a ‘no-build zone.’ (photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.com)

The NHA is planning to construct about 205,393 permanent houses within the next few years.

“Rebuilding takes time,” Andrew Martin, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in Tacloban, explained. “Most people prefer to have permanent houses, but it will take a long time so it is better to give them a better solution that is giving them an option to stay for a few months in bunk houses or transitional shelters.”

He stressed that the provision of basic services from various UN agencies and donors was considered in building the transitional houses, which are made of coco lumber. The provision of livelihood opportunities is for the local government to act on.

Blame game no more 

Mayor Romualdez admits that should another massive storm hit the city and nearby provinces again, the outcome could be much the same as Yolanda unless the local and national governments collaborate and a fuller understanding of disaster risk management is acquired.

“It will be very difficult for us to cope, but the good thing is we have learned our lessons and people are now more aware and it has created a culture of resilience,” Romualdez said. “This is not the time to point fingers or blame each other. I cannot avoid politics but I think we should push for good politics as our mandate and accountability is to the people we serve.”

The mayor said he had been pushing for the creation of a separate disaster agency to address disaster preparedness of cities and provinces, a place for scientific data bank, capacity building for local government units and an office focused on disaster efforts.

However, Gerry Arances of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice blasted the rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-hit areas.

“After one year, without a clear people-centered rehabilitation plan, tens of thousands still living in tents and bunkhouses, no substantial economic activities and sustainable jobs, among others, we can fairly say that what the government has done is add more insult to injury for our kababayan who have suffered the wrath of typhoon Yolanda and are still continuously suffering (because of) the ineptness of this government,” Arances said.

Climate Walk for Yolanda

Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Sano, who has embarked on a 40-day “climate walk” dedicated to the victims of typhoon Yolanda with members of nongovernmental organizations under Aksyon Klima, said they hope to draw underscore the urgency of addressing climate change.

The group marched from Luneta in Manila and will end their long walk at the San Juanico Bridge in Tacloban City on November 8.

“The walk will also chronicle stories of the experiences of people on the ground facing climate impacts. After the walk, we will bring the voices of the most vulnerable to the international climate change negotiations in Lima, Peru in December to alarm the world on the devastating impacts of the changing climate in vulnerable countries like the Philippines,” Sano said.

“Climate change is the defining issue of our generation,” he stressed. “We will be measured by how we respond to this crisis. The world must find the courage and muster the political will to avert this crisis.”

An electric jeepney drives past a house under construction in Tacloban City. (photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.com)

Slowly but surely

Lacson said the combined efforts of the government and nongovernment sectors have resulted in the completion and still ongoing construction of more than 9,000 housing units, which he acknowledges is a “low 4.5 percent accomplishment for the resettlement cluster.”

Nevertheless, the rehabilitation czar explained, “This is not without a cogent reason. One of the biggest challenges that we face is finding suitable sites or multi-hazard free locations to resettle the big number of houses previously situated in the unsafe zones.”

Lacson said now that Aquino has given the go-signal to implement the master plan, the National Housing Authority is prepared to build all but 40,000 of the more than 200,000 housing units in safe zones for Yolanda survivors.

Completion of almost all the housing units is targeted by June 2016.

Lacson said he is also working to ensure zero leakage in the use of Yolanda funds through eMPATHY, or the Electronic Management Platform: Accountability and Transparency Hub for Yolanda.

“Consider this — a mere one per cent leakage from the P167 billion would translate into P1.67 billion in wasted taxpayers’ money,” he said.

He said eMPATHY will be a mechanism to capture and monitor all the 18,600 projects, programs and activities listed in the master plan from the time these are awarded to completion.

Completing about 80 percent of the rehabilitation plan by the end of the Aquino’s term in 2016 will be an achievement for Lacson.

“It is definitely realizable or can even be exceeded. Why? I will base my projection on the observations shared by foreign observers who saw and participated in other rehabilitation efforts in many parts of the world that were hit by similarly huge disasters,” he said.

“They are almost one in saying that the Philippine government is addressing the rehabilitation efforts at a much faster pace than what they saw and experienced in the other countries that they had been to,” Lacson added.

But for the hundreds of thousands of Yolanda survivors who remain without adequate shelter and livelihood one year after their lives were shattered, nothing can be fast enough.

Source: Interaksyon

‘New normal’ demands sturdier, low-cost shelter

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

SUPER typhoon Yolanda left not only damage of catastrophic proportions but also disaster response and resiliency lessons that survivors had to learn the hard way.

Wooden houses of poor farming and fishing communities in northern Cebu, even those built out of concrete, didn’t stand a chance against Yolanda’s powerful winds and heavy rains.

Only hours after Yolanda made landfall, one lesson seemed clear: there’s a need to build typhoon-resilient houses because a stronger house is no longer advisable, but necessary.

There is now a conscious effort to make stronger houses—thicker walls and columns, sturdier roofs—that don’t easily get blown away in case a storm as powerful as Yolanda crosses Cebu’s path again.

No damage

Last July 26, at 7:45 a.m., a water spout hit a resettlement area in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan town, said Engr. Melania Lazar.

By then, a model house had already been built in the area, now known as “the French Village.”

But the water spout failed to damage the duplex, Lazar said, as its roof, made of thin concrete shell, can resist strong typhoon winds.

The housing project, which can accommodate 76 households, is developed by Habitat for Humanity, France-Philippines United Action and Lafarge, a French industrial company specializing in major architectural products.

Five international Red Cross chapters are helping build houses for typhoon Yolanda survivors in the towns of Daanbantayan, Bantayan, San Remigio and Madridejos and the City of Bogo.

Things to remember when building a house

Infographic by John Gilbert Manantan of Sun.Star Cebu. CLICK TO ENLARGE

10 days to build

Although only half of the house is made of concrete and the other half is made of wood, the structures are designed to withstand typhoons. It has an open floor plan, and has a kitchen, bathroom and water supply. The project is on-site reconstruction of houses that were damaged or destroyed during the typhoon. Beneficiaries own the land.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Cebu City Chapter said it takes only 10 days to construct one unit, but because of the scale of the project, they are targeting to finish the construction of all houses by Nov. 8, 2015, or two years after Yolanda
struck.

(The PNRC declined to disclose the total number of houses they are constructing and the number of the project’s beneficiaries, a policy adopted by all partner national societies.)

The French Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, German Red Cross, Taiwan Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross are undertaking the housing projects with the PNRC Cebu Chapter.

‘Container homes’

In Bogo City, site development for 75 homes made of container vans is ongoing in Barangay Cayang, one of the resettlement areas for families affected by the 40-meter no-build zone.

This housing project is funded by the Philippine American Society of Arts and Culture (PASAC), a US-based non-profit corporation engaged in social and charitable activities.

Jocelyn Tan, Bogo City external vice chair for rehabilitation, said the containers, known for their strength and durability, can survive natural disasters.

Tan said that for the container vans to withstand strong typhoons, these will be supported with concrete footings. On top of it, a room will also be built with a veranda.

In the same village, about 30 houses made of earth blocks will be built by Light of Jesus, a religious, non-profit organization. Some 14 metal houses, with materials coming from China, built by Mabuting Pilipino will also rise in the area.

Architect Carmencito Edalio told Sun.Star Cebu that these duplex metal houses can be assembled in two days. Work can be finished in less than a week, depending on the concrete flooring.

Source: Sun Star Cebu

On November 6, FP-UA renewed its commitment to post Yolanda construction

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A year after Typhoon Haiyan struck the country, The France-Philippines United Action (FPUA), a consortium of leading French companies operating in the Philippines, has reaffirmed its commitment to the rebuilding efforts for survivors of the disaster.

In line with President Benigno Aquino III’s approval of the P167.9-billion reconstruction plan for the Visayas, the FP-UA marks one year of coordinated relief efforts from the French private sector and is set to complete its two reconstruction projects in Northern Cebu early next year.

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the FP-UA is building 74 disaster-resilient houses on 5,488-square-meter site in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan. Specially designed by Architect Ed Florentino, each house can withstand up to intensity 8 earthquakes and 275-300 kilometer-per-hour winds. FP-UA member Lafarge, a global leader in sustainable construction solutions, provided the construction materials used for the houses. A model house was unveiled and turned over to a beneficiary earlier in May.

The FP-UA is building another 148 houses in Barangay Paypay, also in Daanbantayan, in partnership with the French and the Philippine Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. The permanent houses will have access to safe water, proper sanitation, and electrical power supply, and beneficiary families will be covered by a comprehensive livelihood program. FP-UA members Total, Sanofi, and la Caisse des Dépôts, collaborated with the Red Cross for the project.

Altogether, the FP-UA managed to raise US$ 613,700 from different French companies which were redirected towards the two reconstruction projects.

Constructing the houses, meanwhile, is just the first of many steps towards building a disaster-resilient future for residents of Daanbantayan, and the French business community remains steadfast in its commitment to help Filipinos rebuild their lives. “We’re one with these communities as they stand back on their feet and rebuild stronger foundations for the future,” says Lafarge Philippines President and Country CEO Don Lee, who also serves as FP-UA chair.

The FP-UA and the French Red Cross are now conducting a community needs assessment of the first site, and will create an integrated community development program aimed at restoring livelihood for the affected residents.

The FP-UA was launched to address coordination and communication issues and improve the efficiency of French-led rehabilitation efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed over 6,000 lives and affected 14 million more. In the face of massive devastation last year, the French Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Gilles Garachon, convened representatives from leading French companies, the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur, and the French Chamber of Commerce to form the consortium, which is also tasked to encourage optimal allocation of goods, define key evaluation areas, provide various opportunities for involvements, and communicate all these efforts to the public.

Map of the sites

MAP OF DAANBANTAYAN, ISLAND OF CEBU, PHILIPPINES

Site 1 Site 2
Location Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu Island Barangay Paypay, Daanbantayan, Cebu Island
Land Size 5,400 m2 13,500 m2
Leading Donors Lafarge, Schneider, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Megacem, Archetype, Manille Bienvenue Sanofi, Caisse des Dépôts, Total, French Red Cross
Leading NGO Habitat for Humanity French Red Cross, Philippine Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity
Number of homes 74 148
Additional Facilities Multi-Purpose Center A Clinic and Multi-Purpose Center
Total Budget USD 500,000 USD 1M
Progress 56 houses completed Construction in progress
Expected Completion December 2014 June 2015

AT A GLANCE: THE RECONSTRUCTION PROJECTS IN BARANGAYS AGUJO AND PAYPAY

Click here to have a look at the video that was showed during the FP-UA press conference on November 6. It presents the achievements of France-Philippines United Action after only one year of existence; re-building houses and the lives of families affected by typhoon Yolanda in Daanbantayan, Northern Cebu.

French firms build ‘disaster-resilient future’ for Yolanda survivors

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img_3016_15FA9AA21F894AB4B642711D72A8BC0A

THE FRANCE PHILIPPIINES – UNITED ACTION. (From left): Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro, French Red Cross Country Representative Lea Gauthier, Ambassador of France to the Philippines Gilles Garachon, French Chamber of Commerce President Cyril Locke, Lafarge Holdings Philippines Inc. President and CEO and FP-UA chair Don Lee, and Habitat for Humanity CEO Charlie Ayco. Photo from France Philippines – United Action

The consortium of French companies operating in the Philippines eyes completion of its two reconstruction projects in Northern Cebu by 2015

DISASTER-RESILIENT HOUSE. The Habitat for Humanity hyperbolic paraboloid house design, developed by architect Ed Florentino, being built in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu. Photo from the France Philippines - United ActionDISASTER-RESILIENT HOUSE. The Habitat for Humanity hyperbolic paraboloid house design, developed by architect Ed Florentino, being built in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu. Photo from the France Philippines – United Action

 

MANILA, Philippines – Like many other efforts in the beginning, they all poured in help, in cash and in kind. They were all significant but uncoordinated, not sure where to channel their aid.

What was clear, though, was that they wanted to ease the damage brought about by supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan), considered the most destructive typhoon recorded in modern history.

On November 15, 2013, 7 days after Yolanda hit caused death and destruction in the Visayas, French Ambassador to the Philippines Gilles Garachon summoned representatives of leading French companies, plus those from the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur and the French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, to discuss relief activities led by the French community. Thus, the France-Philippines United Action (FP-UA) was created.

A year after Yolanda, FP-UA has reaffirmed its commitment to the rebuilding efforts for Yolanda survivors, as aligned with President Benigno Aquino III’s approval of the P167.9-billion ($3.74 billion**) reconstruction plan for the Visayas.

Their coordinated effort: to complete its two reconstruction projects in Northern Cebu by early-2015.

Building resilient houses

FP-UA raised $613,700 from different French companies used for the two reconstruction projects.

To realize their efforts, FP-UA partnered with non-profit organizations immersed in disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts.

BATTERED DAANBANTAYAN. The damage left by supertyphoon Yolanda is evident in Daanbantayan, Cebu. Image from the France Philippines - United Action press kit BATTERED DAANBANTAYAN. The damage left by supertyphoon Yolanda is evident in Daanbantayan, Cebu. Image from the France Philippines – United Action press kit

Together, they are building 74 disaster-resilient houses on 5888 square meter (sqm) site in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Northern Cebu, to be called the “French Village.” The site was donated by the Cebu local government.

Designed by architect Ed Florentino, each house can withstand up to intensity 8 earthquakes and 275-300 kilometer per hour (kph) winds. Lafarge, a sustainable construction solutions company, provided the materials for the houses.

A total of 74 homes will be erected, including a community center. To date, 56 houses have been completed.

In May, a model house was unveiled. Houses in this site are expected to be completed in December this year.

The FP-UA-Habitat for Humanity rebuilding lives project in Barangay Agujo is worth $ 500,000 and was initiated by Lafarge. They partnered with the local government and members of the French business community, namely Archetype Group, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Manille Bienvenue, Megacem, and Schneider Electric.
Meanwhile, another 148 houses are being built in Barangay Paypay, also in Bantayan under an integrated recovery intervention.
Yolanda left Paypay with 95% houses totally damaged and the remaining 5%, partially damaged.
DISASTER-RESILIENT HOUSE. The Habitat for Humanity hyperbolic paraboloid house design, developed by architect Ed Florentino, being built in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu. Photo from the France Philippines - United ActionDISASTER-RESILIENT HOUSE. The Habitat for Humanity hyperbolic paraboloid house design, developed by architect Ed Florentino, being built in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu. Photo from the France Philippines – United Action
The permanent houses to be built for Yolanda survivors in Paypay will be located in a 1.3-hectare relocation site following a private donation to the Daanbantayan municipality. It will also have access to potable water, sanitation, and power supply. Beneficiary families will also be covered by a comprehensive livelihood program.
For this initiative, FP-UA partners with the French and Philippine Red Cross, and again, Habitat for Humanity, with members and contributors Total, Sanofi, and Ia Caisse des Dépôts.
The $1-million construction project in Paypay is ongoing and is set to be completed by June 2015.
Building disaster-resilient future
Constructing the houses is only the first of many steps toward building a disaster-resilient future for residents of Yolanda-hit Barangay Agujo and Paypay in Daanbantayan, the beneficiaries of FP-UA.
“We’re one with these communities as they stand back on their feet and rebuild stronger foundations for the future,” says Lafarge Philippines president and country CEO Don Lee, who also serves as FP-UA chair.
To date, the FP-UA and the French Red Cross are now conducting a community needs assessment of the Barangauy Agujo site. They will soon create an integrated community development program focusing on the livelihood of the affected residents.
Apart from these efforts, the FP-UA consortium members are also tasked to encourage optimal allocation of goods, define key evaluation areas, provide various opportunities for involvements, and communicate all their accomplished efforts to the public.
Other FP-UA members and contributors include the French Development Agency, Philippine-France Business Council, Ubifrance, AGS Four Winds, Asiatype Incorporated, L’Oreal, and Pacific Hemisphere Dev.  Rappler.com

 

For Rappler’s full coverage of the 1st anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), go to this page.

*Figures from the France Philippines – United Action

**($1 = P44.90)

Source: Rappler

Int’l community vows to continue aid to Yolanda areas

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MANILA, Philippines – Recovery efforts in areas that Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated last year will continue to receive support from United Nations agencies and the international community.

Luisa Carvalho, UN Country Team resident and humanitarian coordinator in the Philippines, said the support will be given at all levels, particularly through the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery and relevant line departments.

In a statement yesterday, Carvalho said they are privileged to have been able to contribute to the humanitarian response.

“We are humbled by the extraordinary resilience of the Filipino people who, despite the unprecedented destruction and tragedy that struck, pushed through individually and collectively, and with generosity of spirit, to this point where recovery is well underway,” she said.

Carvalho said recovery started as soon as two months after the catastrophe, with UN agencies and partners shifting gears to rehabilitation and development work in August, due to the good results of humanitarian phase and in response to the Philippine government’s official launch of the recovery phase.

“We recognize that ‘building back better’ will be a complex and long process, particularly the rehabilitation of human settlements and the restoration of livelihoods.”

Families and communities must be prepared for upcoming weather systems, Carvalho said.

People killed when Yolanda struck the Philippines last year will be remembered on the first anniversary of the world’s strongest typhoon on Nov. 8.

The UN Humanitarian Country Team served roughly 3.7 million people with food assistance; 82,000 mothers given feeding counsel; 23,000 pregnant and lactating women with prenatal and postnatal care; almost 1 million people with rehabilitated water systems; 350,000 with new or rehabilitated latrines; 570,000 households with emergency shelter; 162,000 households with emergency employment; 102,000 people provided information on prevention and management of gender-based violence in emergencies; 20,101 young people provided with information and services on health and protection; and 100,000 farmers with agricultural seeds and tools.

These were done in partnership with national agencies, local governments, donors, private sector, and civil society.

Carvalho said 4,900 temporary learning spaces were created, 545,000 children received learning materials, and public health outbreaks were effectively prevented.

 

French commitment

The French business community reaffirmed yesterday its commitment to complete two reconstruction projects in Northern Cebu early next year.

The France-Philippines United Action (FPUA), in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, has built 74 disaster-resilient houses on a 5,488-square-meter site in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu.

The houses will be handed over to selected families before Christmas.

Designed by architect Ed Florentino, each house can withstand up to intensity 8 earthquakes and 275-300 kilometer-per-hour winds. Lafarge – the world’s largest cement maker and a member of FPUA – provided the construction materials.

FPUA now aims to construct 148 more houses on a 13,500-square meter site in Barangay Paypay, also in Daanbantayan, in partnership with the French and the Philippine Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, scheduled for completion by June 2015.

Beneficiary families will be covered by a comprehensive livelihood program.

FPUA members Total, Sanofi, and la Caisse des Dépôts collaborated with the Red Cross for the project.

Altogether, FPUA raised $613,700 from different French companies.

FPUA chairman Don Lee, Lafarge Philippines president and country CEO, said the French business community is one with these communities as they stand back on their feet and rebuild stronger foundations for the future.

“As we see the outpouring of continuous relief support given to those affected, we would like to supplement these inspirational efforts by launching the rebuilding of permanent homes in these surrounding communities,” he said.

Charlie Ayco, Habitat for Humanity chief executive officer, said each house costs P200,000 to build.

We could have opted to build cheaper houses but we are looking at it on a long-term basis. Instead of building cheaper ones using GI sheets for roofs, we will build houses that could withstand strong typhoons,” he said.

Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro said his town of 15 barangays needs at least 4,000 new houses and about 18,000 houses to be repaired. “At present we have given 7,000 shelter kits but these are just umbrellas and GI sheets. There are a lot of houses in the danger or no build zone. This is a good start.”

French Ambassador Gilles Garachon said the French government’s efforts to help in the rehabilitation of Yolanda-hit areas are all being coordinated with the Philippine government through the office of Secretary Panfilo Lacson, presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery.

Garachon said more and more French business firms in the Philippines and in the region are pledging help for the Yolanda-affected areas, particularly in the area of livelihood access.

FAO report

A report on how the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) responded to the Philippine government’s call for assistance to Yolanda victims a year ago will be presented at an international conference at Shangri-La Hotel in Makati on Nov. 12-13.

The report “FAO Response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: Relief, Rehabilitation, and Development for Resilience” will be among the 50 presentations to be made at the Second International Conference on Agricultural and Rural Development in Southeast Asia-2014.

Aristeo Portugal, assistant FAO Philippine representative since 2009, prepared the report.

Organizing the conference is the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

The theme is “Strengthening Resilience, Equity and Integration in ASEAN Food and Agriculture Systems.”

SEARCA director Gil Saguiguit Jr. said about 400 scientists, academics, economists, government policymakers, farmer-leaders and practicing farmers, representatives of civil society organizations, and other stakeholders are expected to attend the high-level conference.

In his report, Portugal said the response to Yolanda highlighted the significance of effective cooperation between FAO and the Philippine government and the importance of efficient collaboration between FAO and its partners.

 

Accomplishments

The government and international humanitarian agencies have accomplished a lot for the millions of Yolanda survivors in recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Visayas. – With Mike Frialde, Rudy Fernandez, Rainier Allan Ronda

Source: The Philippine Star

French biz community renews commitment to help ‘Yolanda’ victims

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MANILA, Philippines – The French business community in the Philippines has renewed its commitment to aid the continuing rehabilitation of areas in Northern Cebu that have been damaged by typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) last year.

In line with President Aquino’s approval of the P167.9-billion reconstruction plan for the Visayas, the French business community in the country – the France-Philippines United Action (FPUA) – on Thursday reaffirmed its commitment as it marked one year of coordinated relief efforts from the French private sector and is set to complete its two reconstruction projects in Northern Cebu early next year.

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, FPUA has built 74 disaster-resilient houses on 5,488-square-meter site in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu. The houses will be handed over to selected families before Christmas. Daanbantayan is composed of 15 coastal barangays and two island barangays that were all devastated by Yolanda.

Specially designed by architect Ed Florentino, each house can withstand up to intensity 8 earthquakes and 275-300 kilometer-per-hour winds. Lafarge – the world’s largest cement maker and a member of FPUA  – provided the construction materials used for the houses.

With the completion of the 74 houses, FPUA is now targeting to construct 148 more houses on a 13,500-square meter site in Barangay Paypay, also in Daanbantayan, in partnership with the French and the Philippine Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. The 148 houses are scheduled for completion by June 2015.

The permanent houses will have access to safe water, proper sanitation, and electrical power supply, and beneficiary families will be covered by a comprehensive livelihood program. FPUA members Total, Sanofi, and la Caisse des Dépôts, collaborated with the Red Cross for the project.

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Altogether, the FPUA managed to raise $613,700 from different French companies which were redirected towards the two reconstruction projects.

“We’re one with these communities as they stand back on their feet and rebuild stronger foundations for the future,” says Lafarge Philippines President and Country Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Don Lee, who also serves as FPUA chair.

The FPUA and the French Red Cross are now conducting a community needs assessment of the first site, and will create an integrated community development program aimed at restoring livelihood for the affected residents.

It would be recalled that the French business community in the Philippines through the FPUA, launched last January, the project to build at least 100 supertyphoon-resistant houses in the coastal town of Daanbantayan in Northern Cebu to be called the “French Village.”

“As we see the outpouring of continuous relief support given to those affected, we would like to supplement these inspirational efforts by launching the rebuilding of permanent homes in these surrounding communities,” said Don Lee, president of Lafarge Holdings Cement Services Philippines and FPUA head

Habitat for Humanity CEO Charlie Ayco said each house costs P200,000 to build.

“We could have opted to build cheaper houses but we are looking at in on a long-term basis. Instead of building cheaper ones using GI sheets for roofs, we will build houses that could withstand strong typhoons,” said Ayco.

Ayco said the 20 square meter house which could shelter a family of five is designed to withstand 275 kilometer per hour winds and intensity 8 tremors.

Meanwhile, Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro welcomed the initiative saying his town of 15 barangays needs at least 4,000 new houses and about 18,000 houses to be repaired.

Source: The Philippine Star