Haiyan Shelter Recovery Programme: A story of hope and resilience

Publié: 13 avril 2016 10:39 CET

By Mary Joy Evalarosa, IFRC

Ever since the construction of her new shelter began two weeks ago, Jennylind Arsollon would stand by the door of her brother-in-law’s house with her one-year-old son, Manuel, in one arm, and watch while the carpenters work.  

The last two years have been rough on the 33-year-old and her family. She was taking care of her brother-in-law’s house when typhoon Haiyan struck their town in Pastrana, Leyte, in November 2013. The family was forced to seek shelter in the basement as the house fell apart.

“It was a scary experience for our family, especially for the kids,” she said. “We huddled in the basement for hours and watched as the water began to pour in from the windows.”

When the water in the basement continued to rise, they clambered out and huddled in her brother-in-law’s living room. Once the storm subsided, the kids helped to bail water out from the basement and discarded everything that was damaged by the storm.

But the ordeal took a toll on her then 60-year-old husband, Ruben, who caught pneumonia a few weeks later. They lived in the damp house for more than two years, with Jennylind  making ends meet from the 5 US dollars she earned by selling ‘bananacue’ from a government cash-for-work project. Life took a turn for the better for Jennylind and her family when they were approached by Philippine Red Cross volunteers conducting a survey under the Haiyan shelter recovery programme.

“One of the things that made this shelter different is that the latrine is located at the front of the house,” said Herbert Origenes, one of the Philippine Red Cross shelter team leaders in Leyte. “The participants informed us during the initial survey that the back part of the house is prone to water retention during heavy rains, so we took steps to avoid that.”

Over the past two years, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has made significant progress in its recovery program, reaching more than tens of thousands of people with shelter, livelihood cash and health and education programmes.

As it nears the end of its three-year operation, the Philippine Red Cross’ Haiyan Recovery program, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and partner national societies, has so far built or repaired more than 72,000 homes in 9 affected provinces, reaching more than 90 percent of the shelter target since the programme started in 2014.

According to Philippine Red Cross Chairman, Richard Gordon, the shelter recovery program ensures that families have adequate, appropriate and safe shelter, supporting them from the transition phase to making more permanent and durable housing. “We also prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable and ensure their participation and access to basic services to provide them with a life of dignity,” said Gordon.