‘Yolanda’ housing remains a mess

TACLOBAN CITY—Storm survivors in Eastern Visayas continue to demand full accountability over the sorry condition of their shelter rehabilitation after the 2013 super Typhoon “Yolanda.”

“During President Benigno Aquino III’s administration, nothing came out of the promised build back better. In the current administration, the campaign promise for us survivors with one foot inside Malacañang seems to translate now into our feet going to the grave instead?” said “Yolanda” survivor Marife Juana.

Joli A. Torella, shelter leader of the Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners, urged Duterte for the full audit of the relocation and resettlement sites, along with the existing and ongoing construction in Eastern Samar.

“The audit should not just focus on the structural integrity, but must also focus on the whole process of shelter rehabilitation including whether survivors will have sources of livelihoods and adequate access to social services. The housing units being constructed today are unfortunately without such provisions,” Torella said in a statement.

“This is the primary reason why survivors are refusing the houses. We fear that the National Housing Authority is constructing ghost towns or houses without occupants if the government will continue to ignore the demands for genuine consultation and participation of survivors,” she added.

According to Torella, they are holding Duterte administration responsible for the slow moving and botched housing program.

“Will inadequate housing remain a never-ending issue?” she asked.

Tessie Elacion, of Balangiga, Eastern Samar, added that for years, locals have been trying to raise their concerns to the government agencies tasked to provide housing for Yolanda survivors.

“We are counting on National Economic Development Authority to report on the sloppy state of relocation site in Balangiga.  We are also hoping that this report would stop the application of the urban solution to rural areas.  We are farmers and fisherfolks, we should not be placed in row houses where our tools and livestock have no place,” said Elacion.

She added that “a host of issues” emanated from the exclusion of the survivors from the entire process.

The group also decried that more survivors will be displaced as soon as the 27.3-kilometer Tide Embankment Project is completed from Tanauan, Leyte to Tacloban City.

Topics: Super Typhoon Yolanda , Survivors , Eastern Visayas , Yolanda housing , Joli A. Torella
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