After eight months of living in a tent in Biliran, 50 families who lost their homes to Typhoon Urduja in December 2017 have finally moved into sturdier transitional shelters.

They have long suffered the camp-like conditions that many of them still get emotional every time they remember the tragedy that hit them.

“Ug way nagsuplay sa amo wa mi tagaig bugas lisod gyud wa may pangwarta wa mibuhion nangamatay among mga manok among baboy naanod… dakong pasalamat namo nga gitagaan mig bahay (Had no one helped us or given us rice supply, we would have really suffered. We have no income. Our chickens and pigs were swept away. We are very grateful that we were given these shelters) said Armogina Labesto tearfully as she recounted the day the sea swept away their home and livestock.

Roel Amparado is also among those who were left homeless during the onslaught of Urduja. He said they were unable to save anything because the sea quickly swallowed everything they had.

“Di na man mapuy-an an amon gipuy-an didto kay naabot na man sa dagat maoy hinungdan nga gidala mi didi sa gipapuyo mi sa tent pagkahuman didto gibalhin pud mi dinhi (The sea was already reaching our house. It wasn’t safe to stay anymore, so we were relocated to the tent city),” he said.

The shelters were made of concrete with sawali (woven split bamboo mats) walls and a galvanized iron roof.

Armogina Labesto still gets teary-eyed every time she recalls their ordeal.
Armogina Labesto still gets teary-eyed every time she recalls their ordeal.

These will serve as temporary dwellings while waiting for the government to finish the housing project designed for them.

The initiative was made possible by the partnership of various government agencies and non-government organizations.

“After Urduja, we identified that housing is the most important need of the affected communities,” said Rotary Club Executive Director Troy Bumabat.

Affected families were not only provided with temporary shelters, but also with livelihood opportunities.

“We have graduated a total of 76 beneficiaries for the construction related qualification,” said TESDA Provincial Director Elizabeth Garcia. “This is a concrete example of a public private partnership.” — Archyl Egano


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