Talamban officials set aside P200T for Hillside fire victims

THE families displaced by the fire in Sitio Hillside in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City last Wednesday can rebuild their homes any time, but City Hall is looking at the possibility of reblocking the area.

Yesterday, the Talamban Barangay Council declared the areas hit by the fire under a state of calamity, which will allow barangay officials to use some P200,000 to assist the 41 families who were displaced.

The Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) chief Genevieve Alcoseba said yesterday that the 5,000-square-meter property razed by the fire is owned by the families living there.

The area is subdivided into at least 21 home lots.

“They can rebuild their houses because they own the lots,” Alcoseba said.

Their office is already coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) so the fire victims will be given housing materials.

DSWS Chief Lea Japson said the City will make an emergency purchase of housing materials today or on Saturday.

Each family will get galvanized iron roof and plywood.

Asked about the possibility of reblocking the area, which is located at least 500 meters from the main road, Alcoseba said they will consult the residents today.

“We have to consult them first because this is a private lot. We can’t impose the reblocking on them so we’ll consult them and explain why it’s necessary,” she said.

If the fire victims won’t allow the City to reblock the site, Alcoseba said they will just have to come up with a disaster preparedness measure to prevent the same incident from happening.

The fire in Talamban killed two young brothers aged three years old and three months old.

It also destroyed some P300,000 worth of properties.

Fire investigators are looking at the possibility that an electric fan in the boys’ room may have overheated.

Records of the DSWS showed that as of yesterday, the blaze hit 27 houses. Of the number, 24 were destroyed and three were damaged. It displaced 41 families or about 171 individuals.

Aside from the housing materials, the City will also give P10,000 financial assistance to owners of destroyed houses and P5,000 to the owners of damaged houses.

DSWS gave the fire victims food packs starting last Wednesday up to Saturday, and P2,000 worth of disaster kits that will cover their basic needs including toothbrush and underwear.

Japson said the City will give additional cash aid to the family of the two young brothers who died.

The amount, she said, will be discussed with Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

The mayor assured yesterday that the City will extend help to the fire victims.

Talamban Barangay Captain Dario Arcilla said they already declared the fire site under a state of calamity yesterday and set aside P200,000 as aid to the fire victims.

The barangay will give P20,000 to the families of the two boys who died.
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