‘Yolanda’ survivors to welcome New Year in bunkhouses

‘Yolanda’ survivors to welcome New Year in bunkhouses

TACLOBAN CITY, Dec. 31 (PNA) – At least 46 families welcome their New Year in an oppressively hot and rat-infested bunkhouses meant as temporary homes for survivors of super typhoon “Yolanda” that flattened the city more than three years ago.

“We don’t feel like celebrating holiday season here,” said Marivic Letran, 39, one of the dwellers of rows of bunkhouses in Calanipawan village. The shelter is along a highway, facing the city’s Chinese cemetery.

Marivic’s family has been staying in the bunkhouse since December 2013. She recalled that in the past years, they had a “blissful Christmas” receiving gifts from the government and private organizations, but this year they got nothing.

“When they moved us here, they promised that we would be relocated to our permanent homes after six months. But it’s been three years and we’re still here,” Marivic said.

The situation is getting worse now with just one functioning toilet available for all dwellers.

“Rats are seen everywhere, awaking us in our sleep, and steal our food,” Marivic observed.

The bunkhouse built by the Department of Public Works and Highways in Leyte and Eastern Samar provinces in late 2013, is divided into 24 rooms to accommodate more families.

An average Filipino family with approximately five members will be able to occupy a room with an area of 8.64 square meters, similar to the size of two pingpong tables.

Each bunkhouse made from corrugated sheets, plywoods, and coco lumber. It has four toilets, two bathrooms, and one kitchen.

Marivic’s family is just one of the 46 households still living in bunkhouses. They are beneficiaries of a housing project by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Their neighbors have been moved to new homes since summer this year.

Eden Garde, UNDP’s project manager for Yolanda recovery, said the construction of houses meant for bunkhouse dwellers are already finished.

“It is complete already even the water system, so ready for occupancy. They will move by next month hoping that the local government would have already fixed the main access road in the community,” Garde said in a text message.

Ted Jopson of the city housing and community development office said the city government is already working on concreting the muddy access road leading to UNDP’s housing site. (PNA) lgi/SQM/Lalaine S. Badilla & Maria Eden Mae T. Terceño (OJTs)

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