A YEAR after super typhoon Yolanda, the path to recovery in most of the 16 affected areas in northern Cebu is still a long, bumpy road ahead.
Thousands of families remain compromised; they live in tents and within the 40-meter no-dwell zones, exposing them to risks brought about by severe weather.
The Cebu Provincial Rehabilitation, Recovery and Development Plan listed 152,746 families displaced when Yolanda struck on Nov. 8, 2013. Of this number, 16,290 households have to be relocated because their homes sit within the 40-meter danger zone.
In Bogo City, and Daanbantayan and Medellin towns alone, only 134 of the estimated 10,000 households have been relocated to permanent shelters.
Several issues continue to delay the transfer of these households to safer ground: lack of funds, lack of relocation sites, legal concerns, and refusal to leave their old homes.
In the meantime, private sector and humanitarian organizations have brought in volunteers, provided materials or donated lots where the survivors’ houses may be built. These organizations include Gawad Kalinga, Habitat for Humanity, Islamic Relief, March for Christ, Oxfam, and Red Cross.
One year since Yolanda’s onslaught, the National Housing Authority (NHA) has yet to start building houses.
The agency is set to build 22,423 houses in the 16 affected areas: Bogo City and the towns of Bantayan, Borbon, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Medellin, Pilar, Poro, San Francisco, San Remigio, Sogod, Sta. Fe, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Tuburan and Tudela.
The project is estimated to cost P7 billion but NHA 7 Manager Gavino Figuracion said only P2.2 billion is available yet, or an equivalent of 7,000 houses. Figuracion, however, said only 500 may be completed this year.
Because of this, Figuracion said the project will have to be implemented on a first-come, first-served basis for municipalities based on their submission of the project plans and detailed engineering. The local government unit must also have a title, not just a tax declaration, for the land where the houses will be built.
At least 10 local government units (LGUs) have identified lots that may be used as relocation sites. Construction work and site development have started in some areas.