Two years after, tragedy continues for Yolanda survivors

November 2, 2015

October 22, 2015

Two years after Yolanda hit the Visayas, groups lamented that thousands of families still live in unsafe zones, in transitional homes or in relocation sites that lack basic utilities and access to sources of livelihood.

Advocacy groups led by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLPCD), NGOs for Fisheries Reform (NFR) and Oxfam Philippines staged today a symbolic action to urge the government to fulfill the right to adequate housing of Yolanda survivors and give them access to livelihood and basic services.

Only 28.3 percent of the P76.678 billion funding requirement has been released for implementation, and only 73,000 housing units out of the 205,128 target are currently being built, according to Social Watch Philippines.

Algina Lacaba, leader of internally displaced familes in Tacloban, said that 83 percent of affected families still live in danger zones. Only 487 of 14,000 families needing permanent housing have been relocated yet the resettlement sites lack basic utilities such as water and electricity, she added.

Losanto “Ka Jun” Castillo, Jr., leader of fisherfolk community in Tacloban, also complained that relocation sites are far from their sources of livelihood.

“Adequate housing is a basic human right. The government should speed up the implementation of housing projects that meet human rights standards before disaster strikes again,” Romeo Dongeto, PLCPD executive director, said.

Advocates also urged Congress to enact laws that will ensure swift rehabilitation for disaster survivors and to step up initiatives on climate change adaptation, such as integrating risk analysis of natural hazards in land use and disaster risk reduction (DRR) plans.

PLCPD, NFR and Oxfam along with other civil society organizations and government agencies earlier formed a technical working group (TWG) that drafted comments on and recommendations for post-disaster housing. These recommendations were presented to the House of Representatives Special Committee on Climate Change last week.