TACLOBAN CITY- While living in their so-called transitional houses is far better than living in tents or bunkhouses, families who survived the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda but lost their houses, lamented that life at their new temporary resettlement site is difficult.
The transitional houses, so called because these will serve as temporary houses for the survivors while waiting for the completion of the construction of their permanent houses, are made of light materials with nipa shingles as roofs and “amakan” as walls and measuring 16×12 square meters.
“We feel better off staying here than in a tent. We feel safe here. Unlike in tents, we can now sleep soundly even when it rains,” Rosalinda Ocenar, 47, said.
Ocenar, her husband and five children were among the 60 typhoon victims from San Jose District who were transferred from their tents to their transitional houses located in Barangay Santo Nino.
Santo Nino is located in the northern part of Tacloban and is about 24 kilometers away from San Jose District.
The families were transferred to this temporary relocation site of about 3.4 hectares owned by village chairman Alden Villarino, just last month.
They are to live at their transitional houses, built by a non-government organization, Operations Blessing, until houses to be constructed at the permanent relocation sites will be finished, said Danilo Naputo, community facilitator of the City Housing and Community Development office.
By his own reckoning, the families would be staying at the transitional houses for about a year.
But while Ocenar and the rest of the families now living at their transitional houses appeared to be safe, the distance of their new resettlement also resulted for them not only to lose their income but even getting their daily foods have became a problem.
“We cannot ask food from our neighbors like in San Jose because we know that they are also hard up. There are instances that we only eat once a day,” Ocenar, whose husband once worked a carpenter, said.
For the past five months or so, the giving of food assistance to the survivors have been stopped by the government saying that it is now a period of rehabilitation and giving relief is over.
In the case of Rosita Enales, 57 who lost her husband Reynaldo due to Yolanda, their transfer to their temporary resettlement site compounded their financial difficulties.
Enales, who lives with her six children, relied on selling viands at their former barangay in San Jose.
“When I received the financial assistance from the Tzu Chi (Foundation) of P15, 000, I used it to start with a small variety store. But I was forced to close it because I have nothing more to sell because whatever money I generate from our small store, we used it for our daily needs,” the widow said.
Edgardo Pedrosa, 56, also shared the difficulties living at their transitional resettlement.
Pedrosa father of five children, two of them are still in school, said that while he appreciates the government’s intervention, money hard to come to them.
“I used to work as a vendor. Aside from having no income to start again, the area where we are right now is quite far from the city (proper),” he said.
Santo Nino is about 14 kilometers away from the Tacloban proper.
The city government of Mayor Alfred Romualdez said that the part of the development of the permanent resettlement sites in the northern part of the city is to provide necessary infrastructures to attract businesses.
However, this plan will take some time before this could be realized.