February 22, 2018
Tzu Chi to donate prefab shelters to Ormoc quake-displaced families
By Jamaica Digo
Seven months after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake rocked central Leyte, almost a hundred families from Barangay Lake Danao in Ormoc City are still staying in makeshift tents.
Lake Danao is one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. Ground ruptures and threats of landslides compelled the local government to declare it as a no-build zone. While plans are afoot to put up permanent houses for the quake survivors, the local government is still sourcing out land to start the project. Until then, families have to make do with living on an open field under leaky tarpaulins acting as roofs and on damp earth that serves as flooring.
“We don’t want to return to our homes which were destroyed in the earthquake because we are afraid. It’s better for us to wait here where it is safe. I just want my people to be far from danger,” says Lake Danao’s Village Chief Edwardo Padilla.
Arlene Manidlangan was one month pregnant with her seventh child when the earthquake happened. Today, her belly is bulging. Her swollen feet make walking laborious. But it’s the least of Manidlangan’s concern. Every day, she has only one prayer: for her family to have a more decent home.
“I wish there’s a better house where we can stay more permanently. If there is, we will happily move there because it is very cold here and when the weather is hot, it is sultry. The children are always getting colds and coughs that don’t seem to go away,” says Manidlangan, 42.
Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers discovered the plight of Lake Danao’s villagers during their revisit to the earthquake victims on February 21, 2018. Seeing how the residents continue to suffer after the calamity, the volunteers decided to donate prefabricated shelters for them. They are planning to install these temporary houses, replacing the tents in Barangay Canbantog, where the families are currently staying.
“We saw that there was really a need. In the next week or so, [parts of] our [prefabricated] shelters will arrive and we will start installing them for the people to change their living condition,” says Tzu Chi Philippines Deputy CEO Alfredo Li.
Made of Polypropylene Plastic (PP) board and steel frames, the shelters come in two measurements: a 21-square meter for families with up to four members, and 27-square meter for families with five and more members. The houses feature a living room, bedroom, toilet and bath, and kitchen.
With the housing donation, Tzu Chi hopes to give the quake victims dignity in living until the local government can move them to permanent houses. Support the project and #HelpTzuChiHelpOthers! Visit http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/ for details.