Australian Aid and Catholic Relief Services join efforts to build back safer communities

Palo, Leyte, July 28, 2015 – The work of rebuilding back better and more resilient communities continue months after super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) for the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Philippines.

This coming July 28, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) together with CRS and other civic organizations, will have a shelter handover ceremony for the thousands of beneficiaries of the Haiyan Emergency and Recovery Program in Palo.

When Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Visayas in central Philippines in November 2013, families on the eastern side of Leyte island were hit particularly hard as their homes and livelihoods were destroyed. CRS is helping families with individual approaches to transitional shelter. For some, this means staggered cash grants to repair or rebuild homes, with subsequent payments conditional on agreed-upon construction progress. Other families are receiving shelters designed by CRS engineers to meet the needs of their particular location. Low-lying areas, for example, need raised houses to avoid periodic flooding, while other houses are designed with a mix of cement block and wood or woven walls. By using an approach that can be personalized for each family, CRS can address individual needs and preferences. It also considers the complex land title situation in typhoon-affected areas. Some families own their land, others rent and still others were living on land without permission from the owner. The flexibility of this shelter project allows CRS to serve a cross section of the population, not just those with a land title. Keywords: Haiyan, typhoon, shelter, transitional shelter Project funded by DFAT (formerly Australian Aid).

When Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Visayas in central Philippines in November 2013, families on the eastern side of Leyte island were hit particularly hard as their homes and livelihoods were destroyed. Project funded by DFAT (formerly Australian Aid).

To date, DFAT and CRS has worked together in rebuilding 10,000 shelters and latrines in 25 barangays across the whole Municipality of Palo, Leyte.

Through DFAT’s support, CRS has committed in building back safer shelters and latrines by ensuring that these are using high quality materials, appropriate designs for residents and the environmental conditions they live in and are able to withstand future natural disasters.

“CRS emergency response and recovery efforts for Yolanda survivors has a comprehensive approach that addresses more than life saving assistance. Our goal is for survivors to get back on their feet, rebuild their homes and lives, and strengthen their long-term stability and resilience.” said Joe Curry, CRS Country Representative.

CRS Country Representative Joseph Curry said the homes they built for the beneficiaries were all products of the joint efforts of their technical team, government, partnership with Archdiocese of Palo and continued support of foreign governments such as DFAT.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines visited Barangay Libertad, Palo, Leyte, one of the two villages supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell visited Barangay Libertad, Palo, Leyte, one of the two villages supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

DFAT also supported CRS’ work  during the early emergency phase  from Nov 2013- May 2014 through Caritas Australia/Humanitarian Partnership Agreements that provided 7,110 households emergency shelter kits (tarpaulins, nails, hammers and ropes), and  1,230 households received temporary shelter materials (approximately 6,150 individuals).

Through the setting up effective referral pathways for gender based violence and human trafficking, protecting housing, land and property rights, community based disaster risk reduction management  and establishing a long term septage management strategy, CRS aims to increase the long term sustainability and development impact of their works.

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