Yolanda survivors find little comfort in new accommodation

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Saturday, December 21, 2013


INIT ug layo.”

These are among the concerns of some of the typhoon Yolanda survivors from Eastern Visayas who were transferred yesterday to the tent city, the family rebuilding center that the Cebu City Government and Philippine Red Cross (PRC) put up at the South Road Properties (SRP).

The City Government and PRC said, though, they will make sure that the evacuees' stay at the tent city will be convenient.

The City and the PRC finally opened yesterday the tent city after a two-week delay.

The tent city can accommodate 50 families.

But only 20 out of the 38 families initially identified transferred to the facility as some of them went back to their hometowns in Leyte.

Hot

Luciana Bakilod, one of those who moved into the tent city, said it gets hot inside the tents, especially from mid-morning to early afternoon.

Bakilod of Tacloban City said she hopes the roof that PRC promised to put up over the tents would improve the situation.

SRP Management Office chief Roberto "Bu" Varquez said the families do not have to worry because they will not stay all day inside the tents.

He said interested survivors will undergo livelihood trainings, which will be held in the multi-purpose hall at the tent city.

Varquez said the Cebu Contractors Association will be conduct carpentry or construction skills training to the evacuees.

Councilor Nestor Archival, on the other hand, will conduct horticulture or composting trainings while Body and Sole will hold massage trainings.

Training

Varquez said the Department of Social Welfare and Development will also teach the evacuees how to cook.

Another evacuee, Rebelina Mancio, expressed concern about the distance of the tent city to the downtown area and the markets.

“Okay ra man diri ang lugar pero layo lang gyud siya sa syudad. Kung mamalit mi sa merkado, layo gyud kaayo (The place is okay but it’s too far from the city center. If we need to buy something from the market, it’s too far),” she said.

Her daughter Catherine shared the same concern.

“Wa man gud jeep gaagi diri mao lisud gyud (There are no public utility jeepneys here),” she said.

Varquez said City Hall will provide a multicab that can ferry evacuees to the tent city. The vehicle will be available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Bus

He said the PRC will also station one its buses near the tent city.

During the opening of the tent city yesterday, Mayor Michael Rama reminded the evacuees that their stay at the facility will only be temporary.

“If you’re ready to go home today, you can go. If you want to go home tomorrow, you may go. If di jud mo mag-ready bisan kanus-a (If you won’t prepare at all), then we will let you go,” he said.

Rama won't say, though, how long the evacuees will be allowed to stay at the SRP.

Former city councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, who heads the evacuation committee at City Hall, reminded the evacuees on the do's and don'ts on the use of the tent city.

Pesquera said visitors are not allowed to go inside the evacuees' tent to avoid loss of valuables.

She said the evacuees’ visitors can stay at the multi-purpose hall.

Also, Pesquera said that smoking and gambling will not be allowed inside the tents. She also asked them not to vandalize the tents.

PRC Cebu chapter head Vic Jay Gonzal asked the evacuees to take care of their temporary shelter.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 21, 2013.

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