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New houses for Yolanda survivors

MANILA (SE) Around 263 houses were turned over to families in Tacloban, Leyte, the Philppines, who were displaced by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), in 2013, CBCP News reported on February 13.
They were were among the first batch of recipients of permanent housing units at the Pope Francis Village, which is slated to house 566 survivor families.
The report said that a consortium of Development and Peace (D&P)comprising Caritas Canada, Caritas Philippines, the Archdiocese of Palo, the Redemptorist Congregation and the Urban Poor Associates, undertook the construction. 
A Canadian delegation, led by Bishop Noel Simard of Valleyfield, Quebec, along with Church and government officials graced the turnover ceremony on February10.
The event was “a manifestation of us in Canada responding to the great need and suffering you have experienced in 2013,” Bishop Simard said, adding, “D&P cannot help but respond in the best way we can, despite the many difficulties we have to face in building the Pope Francis Village.” 
 The went on to observe, “And now seeing the happy faces of the families, of the children in their new homes, we can only say that D&P did the right thing pushing for this project.” 
Father Edwin Gariguez of Caritas Philippines, reiterated the Church’s commitment to help the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the CBCP News report said.
“The way we were able to organise the survivors and mobilise all resources available were a reflection of our commitment to better the lives of the most vulnerable,” he said.
Apart from the housing units, the 187.8 million peso ($28.15 million) will have six multipurpose classrooms, a chapel, a village market, as well as waste water treatment and materials recovery facilities.
Pope Francis Village is “truly an integrated, community-driven model community that is reflective of the people’s aspirations,” Jess Agustin, country manager of D&P, said. 
“Our work in providing alternatives like Pope Francis Village’s model community has been an expression of solidarity and hope, despite despair, hatred and division,” he said.
Construction is expected to be completed by June this year.
Caritas Philippines has reported that it has been able to build more than 30,000 homes, benefiting thousands of Yolanda survivors.
Aside from housing projects, the Church also focused on livelihood programmes, community organising, community-managed disaster risk reduction, ecosystems recovery and institutional capacity building, among others.
“This is our Church not giving up on her people,” Father Gariguez said.

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