GUIUAN, Eastern Samar- This town, whipped by Super typhoon “Yolanda” more than 20 months ago, will now have its permanent evacuation center if there is a need.

On Thursday, August 13, the proposed Guiuan community evacuation center, had its ground breaking ceremony attended by the officials of the United Nations Children’s Fund(Unicef), which funded the project, the IOM(International Organization for Migration), which carried out the construction, and the municipal government, which provided the lot located in Barangay Cogon, more than a kilometer away from the town proper.

The proposed community evacuation center is said to be the first to be constructed in Eastern Visayas, hard-hit by the world’s strongest typhoon to make landfall on November 8, 2013.

Guiuan was one of the towns in the region that suffered extensive damages due to Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) with 103 casualties and more than P375 million properties damaged.

It is expected to be finished by March next year with a budget of more than P17 million and could easily accommodate 300 people.

Lotta Sylwander, Unicef country representative, said that with the construction of a community evacuation center in Guiuan, there is now an assurance at least that disaster victims, especially children, that they would be spared from the aftermath of a disaster like typhoon or earthquake.

“We’re happy that it is now being built in Guiuan, the first to be hit by Yolanda and hit really hard. (This will) protect the children from danger and harm and make sure that children will not only survive but thrive together with their families,” Sylwander said.

Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales, said that he was glad with the construction of a community evacuation center saying the facility will be of big help to them especially during a disaster.

He said that concern on where affected families by a typhoon, for example, need not worry where they would be house safely.

The question on “where will we go” when a disaster struck could now somehow be address with the construction of the facility, Gonzales said.

However, with only 300 people that could be accommodated at the proposed evacuation center, schools are still to be used just case.

Gonzales also said that during non-disaster period, the facility could be used as a multi- purpose center where people of the town could converge for an event or children’s ground.