Thousands Affected By Tropical Storm Washi Are Assisted By HFH Philippines

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Habitat Distributes Tools And Kits To Clean Up And Repair Homes; 6,000 Homes To Be Built By July

BANGKOK, 17 February 2012: When Tropical Storm Washi struck the Philippines on 17 December 2011, Habitat for Humanity Philippines responded immediately.

“Tropical storms and typhoons are commonplace in the Philippines, but Washi was a surprise because it struck northern Mindanao, an area unaccustomed to tropical storms and heavy rain”, said Charlie Ayco, CEO of HFH Philippines.

“Many people have never seen such widespread damage in their lifetime. As is often the case with natural disasters, the most vulnerable in society have been hit hardest. Thousands have been left with nothing and need support. Habitat is committed to helping long-term to rebuild lives and communities.”

More than 1,200 people died when Washi, known locally as Sendong, struck the northern coastline of Mindanao island. Of the 125,000 families (1.1 million people) affected, more than 40 per cent had their homes damaged.

HFH Philippines has now distributed construction and clean-up tools, and more than 1,000 shelter repair kits, containing items like plywood, lumber, corrugated iron sheeting, nails, hammer and handsaw. A further 4,400 kits are planned to be distributed before the end of March. Activity will then move into the recovery stage and HFH Philippines aims to build 6,000 homes in Cagayan de Oro, one of the worst affected cities, by July.

Philippines’ President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay visited one of the relocation sites at Calaanan, in Cagayan de Oro, and laid bricks for the first Habitat house.

Complementing shelter kit distribution and housing construction, HFH Philippines will run sessions in local communities on preparing for disasters and lessening impact, construction training and creating alternative livelihood opportunities.