PRC allots P270M for Yolanda-affected areas

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THE Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has earmarked P270-million unconditional cash to 90,000 families from areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda and 75,000 families already received their shares.

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PRC Secretary General Gwen–dolyn Pang said the unconditional cash is the highest in the history of Red Cross family, and supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

She said IFRC and ICRC have raised 315 million Swiss francs ($357 million), including 40 million Swiss francs emergency appeal target.

Pang said three types of cash programs are being implemented – unconditional, conditional or livelihood, and shelter.

“The cash component of our program is something new to Red Cross, but the main purpose of this is to give immediate relief to our suffering countrymen, who have displayed resiliency in the midst of the devastation,” Pang said in a forum at Manila Hotel on Monday.

For the unconditional cash program, each household in Leyte got P5,000 while those outside the province received P2,000.

Under the livelihood program, households were given from P10,000 up to P15,000. The target beneficiaries are 50,000 families.

The shelter program provides P10,000 for each family. So far, around 51,334 households received assistance in the form of construction materials.

Pang said the government has requested Red Cross to build core 50,000 shelters. The target is to relocate 5,000 families living in danger zones to safe housing sites. Around 420 houses that could withdstand super typhoons are now being completed in northern Cebu. Red Cross has covered 25 percent of total emergency shelter needs across the affected region.

Construction of 35 health centers are ongoing in various areas while 161 of the target 400 classrooms were already completed.

Marcel Portier of IFRC, who also graced the forum, thanked various donors, like private companies comprising 10 percent, governments (15 percent) and the private individuals (75 percent) who even used text messaging to contribute $5 to $10.

Pascal Manchle of ICRC hailed the Philippine Red Cross for the job well done in the response and recovery programs.

Pang added that more than 1 million people benefitted from PRC relief distributions, while some 20,043 patients were assisted through emergency health facilities.

Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the eastern part of the country on November 8, 2013, killing 6,293. The devastation affected 16 million people, around 4.1 million were displaced and 1.14 million houses were damaged. Pang said bigger fishing boats are being designed for the fishermen’s use in the middle of the sea.

Despite the enormous assistance from all over the world, Pang admitted that millions of Filipinos remain in a precarious situation even after six months Yolanda had touched the fertile land of Leyte and Samar provinces.

“Our recovery work will focus on restoring shelter, livelihoods and access to health care, to help affected communities overcome the hardships of the past six months and become self-reliant again,” she added.

Pang said over 8,000 volunteers have opted to be at the forefront of the emergency response, alongside with hundreds of international volunteers and staff.

She said volunteers are still needed, especially those who could be useful in information drive like science teachers who could explain wind speed and its consequences, among others.

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