Fire survivors start building

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


THE Cebu City Government has distributed some 500 home lots, measuring 30 to 35 square meters each, to help fire survivors start over in Barangay Lorega.

City Administrator Lucelle Mercado said the distribution of home lots started last Wednesday and was done by sitio. Sitios Kamansi and San Roque were the last batch to receive their home lots yesterday.

City Hall’s Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) records showed that the fire last March 18 displaced 1,312 families, but only some 500 owned structures.

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The distribution of the home lots met the deadline set by Mayor Michael Rama for Task Force Lorega to let the fire survivors go back to their communities.

Close enough

Mercado said they made sure families occupied the home lots closest to where their houses used to stand before the fire.

But with smaller lot areas after the re-blocking, Lorega Barangay Captain Fritz Herrera said there are families who complained and asked the barangay to reconsider the sizes of their lots.

Herrera explained that some structures will house more than one family, which is why they need more space; some used to occupy up to 100 sq. m. before the fire.

Mercado also said that some persons should go back to the families whose homes they used to share, since they will not be qualified to avail themselves of the home lots.

“Daghan ug sharer ang ubang balay mao nga nihangyo sila nga pun-an ilang yuta (Some households share their space with a lot of other persons, so they appealed for more space),” Herrera told Sun.Star Cebu.

Wider roads

Herrera added that he already informed the City about it and he is hoping the officials will consider the appeal.

But Mercado earlier said that the City came up with the lot sizes and has to distribute these equally, after portions of the space were taken for new, wider roads.

City and barangay officials have stressed to the families the importance of the interior roads, particularly in an emergency.

Herrera said that under the re-blocking plan, City Hall has prepared 4 to 6.5-meter-wide interior roads in each sitio, while the new access road in the middle measures 10 meters wide.

At least eight sitios were affected last month by the fire, the biggest to hit the city so far. Firefighters had found it difficult to reach interior portions because the roads were too narrow.

Right now, families who were given clearance have started rebuilding their homes, using construction materials from the City.

Wait, gratitude

But those who have ownership issues or those families with sharers who have yet to decide who will represent them were asked not to rebuild yet.

City Hall extended 10 pieces of galvanized iron sheets and 10 plywood sheets to each family, but Herrera said it won’t be enough. The barangay is looking for some other means to help them.

Felisa Gornez, 78, of Sitio Serias said she doesn’t mind getting only a few housing materials and expressed how grateful she was to be allowed to go back to where her two-storey house used to stand.

“Maayo gani gitagaan mi sa syudad ug tabang aron makatukod ug balik sa among balay.

Kami na lang ang mangita ug ipuno kay ganahan na gyod kaayo mi mobalik sa among gipuy-an (At least the City is helping us build our homes again. We will look for other supplies; right now, we just want to go home again),” Gornez told Sun.Star Cebu.

She added that life in the evacuation center is different since they are not allowed to cook their own food and have to take turns to do daily routines, like bathing and doing the laundry.

Since last week, City Hall has been conducting nightly meetings before the families return to the fire site, to help them understand the lot sizes and to brief them as they start reconstructing their houses.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 07, 2014.

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