Austrian NGO, Rafi, town inaugurate 155 houses
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper
Austrian NGO, Rafi, town inaugurate 155 houses

FOR two years, Gloria Caburnay and her family have been living in their house that was repaired with scrap metal after it was damaged by typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 8, 2013.

Two days after commemorating the second anniversary of the typhoon, Caburnay finally owned a new house in Barangay Maño, San Remigio with the help of Hilfswerk Austria (HWA) International, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) and San Remigio.

At least 155 typhoon resilient houses were inaugurated in a 2.9-hectare lot in Maño intended for families living within the danger zone and whose houses were destroyed by Yolanda.

Rafi, HWA and San Remigio signed a memorandum of agreement for the construction of the families’ permanent houses in March 2014.

The construction then started after officials held a groundbreaking on June 2 last year.

HWA provided the funds and technical supervision for the construction of the houses.

Rafi served as the facilitator and evaluator of the program by monitoring the implementation, profiling beneficiaries and gathering baseline data while the Municipality provided the lot and site development.

Move

HWA desk officer Corina Zeisel said 55 families have already moved in to their new homes. The project is 95 percent complete.

“HWA is one of the leading organizations of Austria in offering humanitarian aid... We want to improve the sustainable life for our beneficiaries,” Zeisel said.

Caburnay and her family transferred to the relocation site in Maño last Nov. 10 from their house in Barangay Tambongon.

Caburnay’s family previously lived in a house made of coconut lumber, plywood and galvanized iron (GI) sheets together with two other families.

When Yolanda struck, Caburnay remembered that her family and her neighbors had to run to the other side of the house after strong winds blew out the plywood and GI sheets.

After their house was destroyed, her husband Victor bought scrap GI sheets at P7 per kilo which they used to repair their roof.

Safe

With their new house, Caburnay said, her family is now safe.

“Lipay kaayo. Mintras nagtrabaho mi excited na kaayo mi mobalhin (We are very happy. While we were working on our new house, we were very excited to move in),” said Caburnay.

Each beneficiary was required to spend 400 hours on the construction of their house as sweat equity.

Alvin John Panizales, technical supervisor of HWA, said the house has a land area of 56 square meters for a regular family and 84 square meters for families with seven members.

Panizales said each house is made of Interlocking Compressed Earth Block bricks pioneered by University of San Carlos and Rafi, which make it typhoon-resilient.

Rafi Integrated Development Unit executive director Anthony Dignadice, San Remigio Mayor Mariano Martinez, Zeisel and a beneficiary participated in a paddle-signing activity yesterday.

The paddle was turned over to Yolanda survivors to symbolize they should continue paddling to reach their goal in life.

In an interview, Martinez said some 600 families continue to live within the danger zone and they need to be relocated.

Aside from Maño, relocation sites also exist in Barangays Hagnaya and Tacup, with 90 and 45 houses, respectively.

All the houses are already occupied. The construction of the houses was sponsored by Caritas.

Martinez said the National Housing Authority committed to build 1,224 houses in his town.

As to the Austria Village, the houses have water and power.

Zeisel said the families will continue to transfer in the village until February.

Zeisel was accompanied yesterday by HWA project manager Sussane Chylik.

 

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