TANAUAN, Leyte-Ten year old Giselle Boco and her family sought refuge at her school, the Tanauan II Central School, when Super typhoon Yolanda(international name: Haiyan) whipped their town more than a year ago.
The building where her family and other residents of Barangay Canramos, was destroyed by storm surge, killing two children in the process.
On Wednesday (August 19), an evacuation center-cum school building was formally inaugurated right inside the school campus.
Thanks to the effort of the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), Umcor (United Methodists Committee on Relief) and US Phil Society, the residents of Canramos has now a sturdy evacuation center that could withstand a typhoon with wind velocity of 300 kilometers per hour.
“Of course, we are not wishing that another Yolanda will hit us. But with this building, we are given an assurance that we have a place to run to when a strong typhoon hit us again,” the young girl, who is on her Grade V, said.
Canramos, located within the town proper facing the Embarkadero River, has more than 3,000 residents.
Rene Meily, PDRF president, said that they are just glad to put up a school building which will also function as an evacuation center if the need arise.
He said that the facility is equipped with its own generator set, a water tank and comfort rooms.
The four classroom two-storey building was constructed March of this year and was finished two weeks ago. Each room has floor area of 10X7 square meters.
“It’s really important to make them safe,” Meiley said. The structure could accommodate at least 300 people.
Henry Howard, CEO of the US Phil Society, said that while he does not wish that another catastrophe similar with Yolanda will hit again Tanauan, at least they have now a place where they could temporarily take shelter.
“I pray to God that there will be no catastrophe like Yolanda and if there will be, this evacuation center will become refuge of the people,” Howard said.
Town Mayor Pelagio Tecson, Jr., said the facility built by the PDRF is now among the 10 permanent evacuation centers identified by the local government in case of a disaster like typhoons.
Meantime, a similar facility was ground broke inside the four-hectare San Jose Central School in Barangay San Jose, Tacloban on the same day.
During the onslaught of Yolanda, thousands of families took shelter at the said school wherein 123 of its students perished.
School principal Monina Gabrino expressed her gratitude to the PDRF for choosing her school in the construction of four school room two storey building.
In the same occasion, another two-storey building of the school repaired by the PDRF was reopened. The building is being used by Grade six pupils, a library, clinic and principal’s office.