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DSWD to build houses for mudslide victims

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will start constructing in May an initial 1,282 housing units for the mudslide victims of Barangay Guinsaugon in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral said the DSWD would spend for the construction of 546 houses, at a cost of P27.3 million.

She said the rest will be financed through donations which the DSWD received from non-government organizations (NGOs), the private sector and foreign donors. Each house will cost P50,000.

Cabral said the DSWD actually wants to build a total of 1,828 houses, at a total cost of P91.4 million.

But she said the agency is looking for other donors for the additional houses.

"The DSWD is working with other government agencies and NGOs to help the affected residents start a new life," she said.

"The rescue and recovery operations have been stopped so we are now in the process of rehabilitation," she added.

A mudslide wiped out the entire barangay of Guinsaugon last Feb. 17, leaving thousands of people either dead, injured, or homeless.

Those who survived were given shelter in chapels, the municipal hall and public schools.

While the construction is going on, Cabral said the evacuees would have to stay in tents donated by the Japanese and Indian governments and in two dormitories which the US Marines would build for them.

She said the dormitories would later be converted into an orphanage for the children who were totally orphaned because of the tragedy.

DSWD records show that 66 children lost both their parents, while 100 others were "half-orphaned."

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