Typhoon-resistant Houses and Repair Kits: an Update on the Vincentian Response in the Philippines

by | Jan 15, 2023 | News

From the Famvin Homeless Alliance.

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According to data from the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Super Typhoon Rai (local name Odette) which struck a large part of the Philippines on 16 December 2021 resulted in around 405 casualties and 78 missing people. Government reports indicate that over 2.1 million houses were damaged(1), affecting the lives of approximately 8 million people(2).

After delivering food packages and conducting a rapid assessment of the disaster to determine the immediate needs of communities (shelter assistance and house repair kits), the Vincentian Foundation, in partnership with Vincent Helps and the emergency response arm of the CM-Philippines, submitted a project proposal to the Famvin Homeless Alliance to launch an appeal to assist affected families, focusing on those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed.

Thanks to your generous donations (a total of $ 118,236.27) the FHA was able to provide funds for 100 house repair kits and the construction of 13 typhoon-resistant houses. All the house repair kits have now been distributed in 3 affected locations: Lawaan (Eastern Samar), Malitbog (Southern Leyte) and Limasawa (Southern Leyte), and  a total of 131 families have been helped. In Malitbog the Just One House Project received repair materials from several donors, resulting in a larger number of families being able to have their families restored. The distribution of the kits saw all the efforts of Vincentians, community volunteers and other partners such as Holy Cross and the First Mass Parish in Limasawa joined together, working towards one goal of fighting homelessness by selecting the beneficiary families and coordinating the distribution of the repair kits.

Furthermore, the land intended for the construction of 13 houses in Bolusao, Lawaan (Eastern Samar), has been secured and the construction should start in the first quarter of the New Year, benefitting at least 100 families. The new houses will be better equipped to deal with an ever-changing climate and adhere to the SPHERE international development standards for quality, size, clean water and sanitation.

‘Our sincerest gratitude goes to all the staff, partners, donors, and collaborators of FHA for supporting the Appeal for the Philippines which made this project possible, as well as the upcoming construction of 13 permanent and typhoon resilient houses for those who were displaced because of the recent typhoons’.
Fr. Geowen Porcincula, CM (Assistant Executive Director, VMSDFI) and Fr. Mario Castillo, CM (Executive Director, VMSDFI)

Mr. and Mrs. Apolinar Semeros and family (Limasawa, Southern Leyte) and Mrs. Felipa Agripa and family (Bolusao, Lawaan, Eastern Samar), before and after the house repair.

We hope that the construction of the houses will be completed soon to allow those affected by this natural disaster to rebuild their lives; we are really grateful for all your support, without which all this could not have happened. We invite you to reflect on the following words of Pope Francis (Laudato Si, 25): ‘[…]There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. […] Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded’.

Guided by these words and energized by the charism of St. Vincent and St. Louise in their mission to the poorest of the poor, we pray that we keep responding to the needs of men, women and children whose lives are affected by natural disasters so that no one is homeless anymore. Thank you, Vincentian Family!

(1) UN Office for the Coordination of humanitarian affairs report (OCHA)

(2) Center for disaster philanthropy report