HABITAT for Humanity Philippines has widened the reach of its disaster relief efforts to support the recovery and rebuilding of damaged houses in Cebu, Southern Leyte and Negros Occidental.
Supporting nine cities and municipalities, the emergency response program will aid at least 1,800 severely affected, low-income and vulnerable families through house repair, distribution of shelter repair kits, and provision of hygiene and household kits.
“Habitat Philippines’ teams in the Visayas region are closely coordinating with local government units to assess the urgent shelter requirements of disaster-hit communities. It has been three months and many families are still reeling from the impact of the typhoon. Although P1.6-billion worth of assistance has been provided, shelter assistance only accounts for less than 10 percent. The reconstruction of homes and community infrastructures has been sluggish forcing millions of families to live in unsafe shelter conditions. With the loss of their livelihood and the prolonged impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, they are unable to build back better and safer. The lack of shelter assistance slows down their recovery,” Habitat Philippines chief executive officer Mardi Mapa-Suplido said.
Typhoon “Odette” (International Name: Rai), one of the world’s strongest tropical cyclones in 2021 that struck the Philippines last December 16, damaged more than 2 million homes, based on the situation report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as of February 21. Compared to Typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013 which damaged over 1.1 million houses, Odette destroyed 78 percent more, displacing over 115,000 individuals three months on.
Through partnerships and collaborations, several donors heeded the call for support and have committed P45-million worth of assistance for the families that Habitat Philippines targets to help. With this commitment, Habitat Philippines intends to repair the homes of over 1,000 families in Southern Leyte, Cebu and Negros Occidental. Shelter repair assistance includes damage assessment, provision of tools and materials, and labor support.
“Today, many communities have not yet fully recovered from the effects and devastation of Typhoon Odette. Together with Habitat for Humanity, Shang Properties through Kerry Foundation Philippines is committed to taking part in this humanitarian cause to help affected Visayan communities rebuild their homes and provide safe shelters for these displaced families,” Wilfred Woo, executive director of Shang Properties Inc., one of the major donors for Habitat Philippines’ Typhoon Odette Disaster Response, said.
Mayor Hermenegildo Culpa of Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte, also expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the organization and its partners for extending aid to the affected families in their municipality. “The presence and support of Habitat for Humanity Philippines in the municipality is deemed to be a great intervention and aid to the local government unit in giving compassionate assistance to vulnerable affected family beneficiaries in building back their respective shelters better and in a resilient condition,” he said in a statement.
Partnering with local government units and leveraging the resources and capacity of other community development organizations, Habitat Philippines has distributed hygiene and household kits to 800 families in Southern Leyte and Cebu.
“Through our collaboration with Habitat Philippines, the local government and the community volunteers, we were able to deliver essential household items to typhoon-affected families as they struggled to pick up the pieces of their lives. The assistance and our presence in the communities also brought a message of hope and solidarity that they are not forgotten and that we are with them in rebuilding their lives,” said Sindhy Obias, executive director of Assistance and Cooperation for Community Resilience and Development Inc., which helped distribute the kits in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte.