THE German Honorary Consulate in Cebu yesterday sent off the remaining six volunteers of a German agency that helped provide drinking water to typhoon survivors in the island of Bantayan in northern Cebu.

The German Federal Agency for Technical Relief stayed for over two months in the island, providing 1.9 million liters of drinking water to the typhoon survivors, particularly in the town of Sta. Fe.

They set up a water purification plant that provided up to 40,000 liters of drinking water every day.

The group also rehabilitated 10 wells and equipped these with chlorine dosage pumps. Seven of the wells were also equipped with generators.

Funded by the German government, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief consists of professional volunteers, such as engineers who are deployed to disaster-stricken areas.

In a press release, the German Embassy said Germany’s humanitarian aid to the typhoon victims has amounted to P7.7 billion.

Michael Hasper, charge d’affaires of the German Embassy, met with German volunteers at the German Honorary Consulate in Cebu last Jan. 11. He was scheduled to visit Sta., Fe, but the activity was cancelled because of rough seas.

Inspiration

In a speech, he thanked the group for fulfilling their assignment. He also commended the Filipinos for “(their) wonderful way of handling this crisis.”

“Your great spirit, your energy and your courage to start afresh, even after such a devastating natural disaster, is an inspiration to all of us,” Hasper said.

On Jan. 25 and 26, he visited Tacloban and met with Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Leyte Gov. Dominic Petilla to discuss the assistance the local government units (LGUs) need.

Hasper also accompanied German Red Cross personnel in distributing bags of relief goods, including hygiene kits, to victims in the town of Dulag in Leyte.

The first team of volunteers from the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief arrived in the country on Nov. 12, four days after super typhoon Yolanda struck. They brought along the equipment used to purify water.

They started their operation in Bantayan Island on Nov. 18. The agency sent 58 volunteers in the course of the operation, with around 20 people working at one time.

German Honorary Consul Dr. Franz Seidenschwarz said all equipment and volunteers of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief may have been pulled out, but the German Red Cross will continue to assist typhoon-hit areas.  

Camotes relocation

Yesterday was also the consultative meeting for rehabilitation plan for Camotes towns initiated by Task Force Paglig-on chairperson Baltazar Tribunalo.

The half-day activity was attended by town focal persons and Municipal Disaster Risk-Reduction and Management Council heads.

Their report included what LGUs have done so far to address needs of their constituents, including rehabilitation assistance by government and private firms.

Some local officials complained that some private firms did not coordinate with their office, raising the possibility of duplication of assistance due to absence of monitoring.

Meanwhile, towns in Camotes, Cebu are preparing to relocate those living in the no-build zone.

Tudela is readying its newly acquired two-hectare lot for such purpose, while Pilar has asked barangay officials to recommend relocation sites in their respective barangays. San Francisco is conducting an inventory of lots to be donated for relocation sites, while Poro has no need for one since affected residents already own their lots.

Marten Van Der Veen, shelter cluster information manager of Red Cross Netherlands, conducted a consultation at the Capitol to discuss the matter.

He cited three benefits of the consultation: affected residents get to discuss their problems with provincial officials, the group gets to gather information, and it also gets to inform local and foreign agencies working for typhoon rehabilitation and relief efforts to see where they will fit in.

While the consultation went on, Capitol officials who attended pointed to houses under construction in the no-build zone in Barangay Mabini, Poro.

Municipal Engineer Roberto Abarca said these are illegal. He said they will check with Barangay Captain Uldarico Galleon why he allowed their construction.

“It’s nice to see our goods, going to good hands,” said Patrick Haghedooren, a donor from Belgium. Haghedooren donated clothing, mattresses, powdered milk, blankets, towels and kitchen items to San Francisco.

With him was Willy Mosselmans, who represented Redemptorist Belgium.

The Capitol, for its part, gave P1 million each to the Camotes towns, except for Pilar, which got P2 million.