Philippines

Rehabilitation begins in Philippines for returned evacuees

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By Sheralyn Tanjutco
MANILA - As several families return to their villages three weeks after Mayon Volcano erupted, World Vision has begun coordinating with the Provincial Disaster Management Office (PDMO) of Albay for a sustainable development and rehabilitation program for the families who live and work within the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ).

"If we give the families better opportunities that will stop them from going back to the six-kilometer permanent danger zone, there would not be cramped evacuation centers everytime Mayon Volcano erupts," said Minnie Portales, World Vision Disaster Management Coordinator.

More than 9,000 families left their homes when Mayon Volcano erupted last June 24. Their farms and properties were damaged by ashfall and mudflows brought about by the eruption.

"By taking these families away from the danger zone, we would reduce the risk of death, injury and diseases," PDMO Chief Cedric Daep said.

A few families have been relocated to resettlement sites provided by the Provincial Government. But these families often return to the danger zone for their farms. Daep said it is not enough that families relocate but that "they should also have alternative means of livelihood so they would not have to depend solely on their farms".

The PDMO has already proposed the establishment of the Mayon Development Authority that will promote, enhance and sustain socio-economic development in the surrounding areas of Mount Mayon. Projects may include resettlement site development for the residents within the 6-kilometer PDZ, social and livelihood projects for relocated families, eco-tourism, reforestation, and parks and wildlife preservation projects.

Meanwhile, World Vision is implementing a rehabilitation plan in the coastal villages in San Jose Mindoro Occidental where a tornado hit the houses of 398 families.

Email newsvision@wvi.org for more information.