MORE than 200 prefabricated classrooms intended for typhoon-ravaged areas in Leyte Province arrived in Mandaue City yesterday morning.

Taiwan-based Tzu Chi Foundation donated the temporary learning shelters, which can be assembled in three to four hours and can last for five years.

The 276 prefab classrooms, placed inside 21 cargo containers, will be shipped to the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc and other areas in Leyte next week, said Tzu Chi classroom project team leader James Chua.

Ceremonial opening

Chua witnessed the ceremonial opening of the cargo containers in the compound of the Vicsal Development Corp. in Barangay Guizo, Mandaue City yesterday morning.

Department of Education 7 Director Carmelita Dulangon and Vicsal Development Corp. president Jack Gaisano attended the ceremony.

Chua, in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, said 150 more prefab classrooms will arrive in Cebu within the month or August. The items will be sent to Bohol Province, where a 7.2-magnitude earthquake destroyed several school buildings last October.

Each classroom, which costs P300,000 to P350,000, can accommodate 50 students, said Mulric Sarmiento, a local volunteer of the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Good ventilation

“These are state-of-the-art temporary classrooms,” he told Sun.Star Cebu. Unlike ordinary tents, the prefab classrooms allow for good ventilation.

Sarmiento said 31 volunteers from Taiwan will arrive in the country on Tuesday to help teach locals set up the temporary classrooms.

Dulangon said she will talk with officers of the foundation about the possibility of sending prefab classrooms to schools in northern Cebu, which was also badly hit by super typhoon Yolanda.

Other assistance

The Buddhist foundation has been actively helping rehabilitate typhoon-shattered areas in the Visayas, particularly in Leyte.

It has implemented cash-for-work programs, giving each local P500 a day to help remove typhoon debris. The foundation also brought heavy equipment for cleanup operations, gave cash relief and food supplies to survivors, and conducted medical missions.

Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, mobilized 8,000 volunteers from 13 countries to help in the relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Yolanda struck last Nov. 8, causing massive devastation and killing more than 6,200 people across the Visayas.