1,167 typhoon victims to get houses from Red Cross

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is set to build houses worth P49 million for 167 homeless families in Albay and 1,000 families in Catanduanes, Sen. Richard Gordon, Philippine Red Cross chairman said.


The 167 houses worth P38 million will be built in the villages of San Rafael, Travesia, Bubulusan, and San Francisco in Guinobatan Albay for families left homeless by super typhoon Rolly after a rampaging flood of volcanic debris from the foot of Mount Mayon tumbled down the residential areas including agricultural lands in the four villages last Nov. 1, 2020.


Gordon said that the housing project could withstand 150 kph strong winds and will be finished by December this year in time for rainy and typhoon seasons. Each house will cost P250,000.


PRC with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Korean Embassy, and the Singapore Red Cross, held a virtual groundbreaking ceremony for the housing project in Guinobatan, Albay on Aug. 20.


The PRC housing project will be built in a lot purchased by the provincial government. The housing project according to Gordon is worth P38 million for 167 houses.


When asked what is the counterpart of the Korean government, Gordon said that the Korean government will provide 50 houses and 117 houses will also be provided by IFRC.


“The Philippine Red Cross will be building housing projects for homeless typhoon survivors with the provision of water and power to give dignity and ease the burden of the disaster survivors. The Red Cross will not establish housing projects without water and power,” he said during the virtual press briefing.


Aside from 167 houses in Guinobatan town, the PRC will also build 1,000 houses worth P11.7 million in Catanduanes for typhoon victims. Gordon said that aside from housing projects, they will be providing P7 million assistance for abaca farmers and P11 million livelihood projects for 1,000 families.


Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Inchul Kim for his part said that they’re happy to contribute to the noble cause even though it’s just a fraction of the project.


“It’s good that the housing is being built. I would like to thank the province of Albay for providing the land and administrative details. I would also like to thank the Red Cross for identifying the area.


“I’m glad that we can contribute to this noble cause. I would like to thank the PRC for being our trusted partners over the past few years. We worked together in Marawi. We worked together in typhoons and Mayon,” the Korean envoy said.


Kim said that the Korean Embassy is partnering and providing food and shelters to those affected by natural disasters. “I hope building houses in Albay will be helpful and open the path more hopefully tomorrow. The day after the day is important. We are happy that we made a small contribution,” he said.


“Whatever natural disaster strikes in the Philippines, I reiterate that my embassy has some commitments and support from the Philippines government. I would like to affirm our humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian assistance is not charity, it is giving hope in dire situations. Even though our contribution is just a fraction, we hope that our modest contribution could give hope. So, keep working hard and working together,” Kim said.


Super typhoon Rolly made its first landfall in the island province of Catanduanes before dawn on Nov. 1, 2020. The typhoon with maximum sustained wind speeds of 225 kilometers (140 miles) per hour dumped torrential rain across the region specifically in Albay and Catanduanes.


Three hours after ravaging Catanduanes, Rolly made its second landfall in the coastal town of Tiwi, resulting in the worst devastation in Albay.


Torrential rainfall triggered the remobilization of volcanic materials burying houses in Guinobatan and Daraga towns in the province. Three strong typhoons hit Albay in the span of three consecutive weeks from beginning November 2020. They were typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses.