At Anibong District, Tacloban City
Families living  along the sea shore in Anibong District Tacloban City

TACLOBAN CITY, May 25 (PNA) – The city government has temporarily stopped until June 30 the transfer of about 3,000 families from danger zones to temporary shelters, heeding the request of affected residents.

Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez said that transferring of families have been halted since last week as families want to celebrate the city fiesta near the downtown area on June 30.

Most of these families are in Anibong district, a community badly hit by storm surges when super typhoon Yolanda struck in 2013 where several ships ran aground and destroyed houses.

The mayor said majority of 14,000 families near the sea are now in temporary shelters built in the city’s northern villages. Only 10 percent of affected families are in permanent houses.

Temporary shelters will be occupied by survivors for a minimum of two years while awaiting for the completion of permanent houses.

“Housing projects are picking up, but there are many concerns in construction because like lack of water supply for construction this summer. However, we are 95 percent sure of pushing for quality houses,” Romualdez said.

The local government has asked the National Housing Authority and donor non-government organizations to rush the project so that families have safe places to stay during rainy days.

“The target date is as soon as possible, but we’re not throwing anybody out. We will only relocate if there are houses available for them,” he added.

Tacloban, considered as Yolanda’s ground zero has recorded 54,231 damaged houses, with 30,153 categorized as totally damaged and 23,718 as partially destroyed.

Romualdez told reporters that the city government is pushing for full development of the new township, which include markets, schools, transport terminals, commercial areas and other facilities.

But the top priority, according to him is the construction of schools so that children don’t need to take a 30-minute ride or more to the city.

“There are some areas in the northern part where there are many students there and we are gearing up for more classrooms. We already got 70 percent to 80 percent for new classrooms,” he added. (PNA)