Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman presided over the 4th inter-cluster meeting held in Ormoc City, Leyte during the weekend to discuss updates on the ongoing early recovery and rehabilitation efforts for Yolanda affected areas as well as preparations for the coming of the rainy seasons.
The meeting was hosted by Mayor Edward Codilla and participated in by various government agencies and international organizations belonging to the different clusters, namely: Shelter, Water and Sanitation; Early Recovery; Livelihood; Education; Social Protection; and, Camp Management and Coordination.
In her message, Sec. Soliman said, “Six months after Yolanda, we should look into areas other than Tacloban City. Everyone should keep in mind that Yolanda affected 171 municipalities in 44 provinces.”
Each cluster provided updates on its initiatives and activities in response to the needs of Yolanda survivors.
According to the Shelter Cluster, 359,662 households have received emergency shelter support such as tents and tarpaulins.
Sec. Soliman added that in building transitional shelters, government and partners are involving the residents to get their views and to share that shelters are being built in safe zones to be determined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
For updates on education interventions, the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), local government units (LGUs), and Department of Public Works and Highways shared that they are currently working to build disaster resilient classrooms. For damaged educational facilities, it was reported that the Australian Government is providing AUS$10 million for the repair of day care centers.
Sec. Soliman also shared that as part of the continuing rehabilitation efforts, two newly-repaired day care centers were recently inaugurated in Antique.
She added that the government is taking action to address the increasing out-of-school youth (OSYs) in Yolanda areas.
“We have also extended the coverage of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program education grants to cover 0-18 years old to ensure that child-beneficiaries graduate from high school,” shared Sec. Soliman.
Further, DSWD and DepEd will start a program that will benefit OSYs who are not covered by the Pantawid Pamilya. TESDA will also provide livelihood skills training.
For its part, the Health Cluster presented the implementation status of the Local Government Unit Health Facilities Quick Fix program.
Rainy day preparations
It was agreed that despite the breakthroughs in the disaster relief and rehabilitation six months after Yolanda, quicker action is called for especially since the rainy season will soon be starting.
One concrete action is the continuous coordination of the Camp Management and Coordination Cluster with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in transferring 3,000 families living in evacuation centers in Tacloban City to temporary shelters before the rains come.
The next inter-cluster meeting will be held on June 6, in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
After the meeting, Sec. Soliman visited a transitional shelter built by DPWH in Barangay Cab-untog.
There are 24 bunkhouses here, which can accommodate 576 families. At present, 351 families are currently staying in the bunkhouses. Mayor Codilla is still convincing other families to transfer to the bunkhouses.
The transitional shelter has 90 functional latrines, and 46 bathing cubicles with separate cubicles for male and female. About 90 cooking counters were also built for food preparation.
“They decorated their units and made some improvements. I felt that after the typhoon, they are now starting to move on with their lives,” Sec. Soliman said.