When the 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Bohol and left over 71,000 families in the province virtually homeless, Typhoon Haiyan followed suit barely a month later – this time displacing more than 890,000 families. Entire villages and towns in Tacloban and other parts of Leyte province. became paralysed…some seemed to drop dead from the sheer magnitude of the calamity.
As the two catastrophes hit central Philippines, the country’s tourism belt, barely only a month apart, recovery and rehabilitation seem to be a gargantuan task for NGOs together with the local government.
Habitat for Humanity Philippines, like an emergency medical technician, has responded to both disasters, targeting to rebuild 8,083 homes reduced to rubble by the Bohol quake, and 30,000 houses destroyed Haiyan in order to jumpstart the heart of the community: the people.
Ensuring that families live in safe and decent homes is Habitat for Humanity’s goal. It helps address poverty. Citizens living in adequate homes are more productive, creating thriving communities and generating stronger economies.
In the resort town of Guiuan, Eastern Samar where Haiyan made its first landfall, Habitat has been able to repair nearly 2,000 homes and rebuilt 18 classrooms.
In the town of Santa Fe, Bantayan Island in Cebu, a quaint resort town fringed by white beaches and crystal blue waters, construction is ongoing for 216 new homes for typhoon survivors whose houses were totally devastated. These homes, to be built by Habitat, are designed to weather Haiyan-like intensity storms. In the nearby town of Daanbantayan, Habitat is likewise building 60 concrete houses with a unique “Hypar roof” design – described as houses with sloping edges and poured concrete – that can withstand strong winds.
And while the road may be long and fraught with challenges, there are things one can do to help. There are more ways to help the Philippines recover and rebuild through tourism… Whatever is spent by tourists will help rebuild homes and transform lives and communities.
Habitat for Humanity Philippines recognizes the novel idea of Expedia.co.uk in promoting the Philippines through TravelThatMatters.co.uk Whatever is spent will help rebuild homes and transform lives and communities. We see this as a great opportunity to engage the international and domestic travel industry to encourage more collaborative partnership in promoting travel to the beautiful destinations in our country.
As rebuilding efforts continue, the families in these disaster-ravaged provinces will soon have a renewed hope. The lifeblood of the community will start flowing once again, and the region – and the entire Philippines, for that matter – once paralysed by trauma and hopelessness, will then be resurrected as a nation united through faith and resiliency with the help of the international and corporate community.