Cebu City, Red Cross gear up for Yolanda victims tent city
Jessa Agua (The Freeman) - November 29, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - With brand new tents already in Cebu from Germany, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and City Government are now finalizing for the first phase of the 13,000-square-meter tent city that is set to open next week at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Assisted by SRP Management Office head Roberto “Bu” Varquez, a 30-person Red Cross team of volunteers conducted an ocular inspection of the temporary shelters for residents, mostly from Samar and Leyte, displaced by super typhoon Yolanda.

Varquez is overseeing the backfilling of soil and other physical preparations, with help from the private contractors association in Cebu members, particularly Engr. Albert Lim, for the site to be ready by the time PRC starts installing 50 tents for the first batch of recipients.

“We prioritize those remaining evacuees at the evacuation centers. Initially, we will be setting up 50 tents. Based on our assessment in the current evacuation centers, their main concern is the lack of privacy. With these tents which is at a one-for-every-family ratio, they can have that privacy,” said PRC-Cebu Chapter officer-i-charge Vic Jay Gonzal.

The first set of tents community is considered the pilot batch, as assessment and evaluation would be conducted a week or two later before the second and third sets of 50 tents per batch would be brought it.

The 50 tents, each measuring 5.5 meters by 4.2 meters, were transported Wednesday to the City Government warehouse adjacent to where the tent city would rise.

The entire tent community will have four sets of latrine, a meeting hall, common cooking dining area, clinic, office, and a playground.

The Visayan Electric Company will provide power while the Philippine Spring Water Resources Incorporated (PSWRI) would supply drinking water, to be paid for by PRC, in cooperation with private partners.

“We are coordinating with DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) in identifying the recipient families who are registered and verified as typhoon victims. This is to prevent those who take advantage of the opportunity,” Gonzal said.

Initially, PRC plans to have the tent city remain operational from six o 12 months, until the evacuees feel they are ready to return to their hometowns.

Like any evacuation center, Gonzal said each day in the tent city would be filled with activities, including psychosocial intervention by trained volunteers.

Further, skills training would also be provided so that the transients would have new knowledge they could use as they go home and return to their normal lives.

“While the SRP police is assigned to secure the area, this will be community by itself,” Varquez said. (FREEMAN)

ALBERT LIM CEBU CEBU CHAPTER CITY GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT GONZAL MANAGEMENT OFFICE PHILIPPINE RED CROSS PHILIPPINE SPRING WATER RESOURCES INCORPORATED VARQUEZ
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