TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, March 21 (PIA) – Some 1000 displaced families who are still living in 738 tents in San Jose District of Tacloban City, were presented with plywood floorings on March 20, by the Urban Poor Associates (UPA) together with Christian Aid. Unfortunately, hardwood floors are vulnerable to damage from furniture and heavy objects. When this happens, the integrity of the flooring is compromised and a repair may be necessary.
Each family were given four pieces of marine plywood of ¾ inch thick and with a size of 4×8 feet to use for their floorings while their relocation is still unidentified. The fishermen who received the boats played a big part in distributing the plywood. UPA, an NGO that advocates housing rights, had been helping organize communitie to help and respond with their needs on the plywood for housing.
Since January, several big meetings were held in the area together with the residents to find out what is the life of people after Yolanda. Many of them suffer in mere tents due to continuous rains, children were catching asthma and old people were complaining of colds. Alicia Murphy said, “We first introduced the plywood flooring to about three families. We saw that the children can eat, play and sleep on the plywood which kept them dry. We believe that this is the solution now that we could give to the people when they can wait for final relocation.”
“The family can also bring their plywood in their permanent shelter once it is done. This is a solution for now. The people don’t want to permanently stay near the ocean nor do they want to stay in a temporary house forever,” Murphy said. Belinda Guinoohan, resident of Barangay 90 and beneficiary of plywood flooring said, “I am very excited with our new floorings. My husband will fix it for us. We will now be able to sleep soundly at night.” “Our tent is a hope for most of us because it helps us dream again of safe and permanent housing. Once you are inside our tent you will see on how all the improvements have come from overseas it looks all the world come together to help us. We are thankful for UPA because aside from material assistance they helped us bring care to one another and asked us to be united to claim what the government should do for all the victims of Yolanda,” she added.
UPA and its partners Christian Aid and Holy Spirit Sisters gave the assurance they will help in the recovery and reconstruction. Aside from temporary aid of plywood floorings, the group have distributed 40 boats to fishermen last February and provided nutritious snacks as a feeding program for about thousand children. In all these endeavors, survivors were always consulted and asked their participation from boat making to cooking of meals, in this way the community camaraderie is harnessed.