'Building back worse' in Yolanda areas


Posted at May 01 2014 11:39 AM | Updated as of May 01 2014 07:39 PM


MANILA – An official of international aid and development organization Oxfam on Thursday urged government to step up its rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-hit areas before the typhoon season arrives.

Caroline Baudot, Oxfam's humanitarian policy lead, said some "Yolanda" survivors have resorted to building makeshift homes that could be torn down by the next storm because government has yet to fulfill its promise to provide them better housing.

''There has been some assistance being provided in terms of emergency housing but this is not sufficient and very temporary… We also have temporary shelters like the bunkhouses which have raised a number of concerns. But what we're seeing is that people are not waiting for help. They see it's not coming, and they are building back their own homes, but they do not have enough resources. They are building back worse,'' Baudot told ANC.

''We see people living in flimsy shelters. There is a study that 40 percent are living in flimsy shelters. We've seen violent storms in February that damaged the shelters and clearly demonstrated that people are still very vulnerable to the elements."

Baudot also warned that residents in Yolanda-hit areas will have no place to go in case another typhoon hits, as many evacuation centers damaged by the typhoon have yet to be repaired.

''We are very close to the typhoon season, we are seeing the evacuation centers destroyed by Yolanda haven't been rebuilt and repaired. There is a study in Easter Samar that only 8 percent out of all the evacuation centers existing prior to Yolanda are still standing. When typhoon season begins, people have nowhere to go, so now they live in bad housing that cannot even resist rains. When typhoons hit, where will they go? This is something that is extremely a matter of concern and needs to be acted upon urgently,'' she said.

Typhoon Yolanda hit central Philippines in November 2013, killing over 6,000 people and leaving 1.9 million homeless. - ANC