French biz community renews commitment to help ‘Yolanda’ victims

By November 7, 2014News, Slider

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