TABON-TABON, Leyte, Nov. 10 (PNA) – Marivic Luban, 38, of Mering village of this town considers her family blessed as a beneficiary of a core-shelter program of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

“I cannot imagine we will have another house after the super typhoon destroyed ours. Only the kitchen was left standing. It is where we hid at the height of the monstrous typhoon. I am very happy, I cannot contain my tears when we were considered as beneficiary,” said Luban, a mother of six.

Luban is one of the 436 beneficiaries of the progressive core shelter of the Philippine Red Cross in this town alone.

The on-site housing assistance in Tabon-Tabon is the pilot and model housing community of the PRC.

Prior to the repair of their house, tarpaulins distributed by the PRC saved their family from the elements, she recalled.

The shelter program is a joint project of the societies of the PRC, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Cresent and Partner National Societies.

“We plan to build more durable homes that can withstand 220 kilometers per hour winds, spacious and decent place for the survivors of the typhoon,” said Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang.

The PRC shelter assistance for survivors of typhoon Yolanda is concentrated in 47 affected municipalities in central Philippines.

“We are now geared in supporting the long-term recovery of survivors in terms of housing, livelihood, health, water networks and education,” she added.

The shelter has a floor area of 26-square meters with a provision for toilet and kitchen. It is made of cement and plywood with GI sheets and roofing is pitched at 30-degrees to withstand strong winds.

Roof will be painted with red color and the wall will be painted in white.

“It will be the sweat equity of the beneficiaries in painting the house. We will provide the paint materials but they will be the one to paint their new shelter,” Pang said.

“This is a three-year recovery period. We will build 40,000 houses in Haiyan affected provinces. We build more than half of the housing needs of the survivors, PRC chairman Gordon said.

In Eastern Visayas, the target is 14,000 for the province of Leyte, 5,000 for Tacloban City and 4,500 for Samar provinces.

Even before the typhoon, the Philippine Red Cross had prepositioned emergency relief food bags from the Philippine Red Cross Davao warehouses to the provinces of Samar and from NHQ to the other parts of Eastern Visayas.

It has provided 380,000 households with emergency food relief and 230,000 non-relief food items during the emergency phase to ensure normalcy and dignity to survivors.

“This is the biggest humanitarian operation for the organization. We have deployed thousands of volunteers in a span of one-year. We thank our partner National Societies, private citizens, corporate donors all over the world, for the amazing response to our Haiyan Operation,” Pang said.

The Philippine Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross built Emergency Hospital in Basey, Samar and 16 other emergency health centers in Eastern Visayas to address the needs of the survivors.

“We have rehabilitated the Basey District Hospital, provided them with new medical equipments. It is now in full operation. The said hospital serviced the neighboring towns of Sta. Rita, Marabut, Balangiga, among others,” Pang added.

The organization also provided 18 million liters of safe drinking water; gasoline for emergency to government and humanitarian agencies right after the typhoon.

It has provided cash for work to residents to roll the economy again in some places of the region.

The PRC also distributed Php5,000 unconditional cash grants to 15,000 households in Leyte, livelihood cash assistance to 20,000 beneficiaries and livelihood skills.

Last January, PRC constructed 166 transitional classrooms. The 100 classrooms were for Tacloban and the 66 were built in different municipalities of Leyte province.

“A year after Haiyan, we built and rehabilitated 35 classrooms and provided 10,000 school chairs all over. We at the Red Cross prioritize education, because this is what gives our children a better future. 20 more classrooms will be built in the next 6 months,” Gordon added.

Gordon, Pang, Marcel Fortier, IFRC Head Delegation to the Philippines and other representatives of the National Societies came to Tacloban City last November 7-8 for the Yolanda commemoration.

They visited the projects in the towns of Basey, Samar, and the municipalities of San Miguel, Tabon-Tabon, Tanauan, Dulag, Tolosa. (PNA)