As the world celebrates the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), thousands of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors remain homeless and vulnerable to disasters.
The IDDR, which began in 1989, is a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction.
Held every October 13, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.
Suyin Jamoralin, executive director of the non-government organization (NGO) Citizens Disaster Response Center Foundation Inc. (CDRC), said, “How can we celebrate the IDDR here if we have not reduced the Yolanda survivors’ exposure to disasters?”
The CDRC underscored the plight of its Shelter Project Phase 2 beneficiaries in barangay (villages) San Roque, Buenavista and Macanip in Jaro, Leyte who are living in makeshift houses.
Construction of 300 houses has been halted, as the CDRC could not get the wood released from the Port of Cebu because of non-issuance of tax/duties exemption and waiver of storage fees.
For ten months, the CDRC went to various government agencies to request exemption from tax and duties for the shipment donated by CDRC’s partner DiakonieKatastrophenhilfe (DKH) but its requests have not been acted upon.
Two of the supposed beneficiaries–Antonio Garrido (60 years old) and Alberto Fuertes, (46 years old)– have died.
“They may have survived Super Typhoon Yolanda but they did not survive bureaucratic red tape and government neglect,” Jamoralin said.
“The only thing we’ve been asking these past months is for the government to give us the due assistance needed to help the communities they have not reached.”
Unlike the allegedly sub-standard houses built by the government for survivors of Yolanda, the CDRC and its partner (DKH) are building typhoon- and earthquake-resistant houses.
During the first phase of the project, the CDRC turned over 300 houses to beneficiaries in six villages of Jaro, Leyte in November last year.
The wood donated to construct the houses were granted tax and duties exemption for the Phase 1 of the project under Presidential Memorandum Order No. 36 in 2014.