The first permanent houses have been built in Tacloban City, proof that corporate and private aid works. Australian-funded houses are among the very first permanent houses to be completed, seven months after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines.
Two permanent homes have been completed and a further six will be finished by the end of June. The homes near Tacloban City are part of construction efforts underway by Habitat for Humanity, the world’s number one not-for-profit provider of housing for low income families in need. The homes were funded with $25,000 in donations from Australians and a further $25,000 donated by Australian building and construction materials company Boral.
“It is an extraordinary achievement that some of the very first houses to be completed as a result of the international relief effort post Typhoon Haiyan were made possible because of Australian generosity,” Habitat for Humanity Australia CEO, Martin Thomas, said. “The devastation caused by this typhoon is beyond comprehension and there is still an urgent need for more relief efforts.”
Across the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan resulted in the deaths of more than 6,100 people and displaced more than 4 million from their homes. Today, nearly 2 million people remain homeless, with most living in temporary accommodation or camps.
Many of those displaced lived in Tacloban City, a low-lying coastal region which bore the brunt of Typhoon Haiyan when it made landfall on 8 November 2013.
Luke Millar, International Program Coordinator with Habitat for Humanity Australia, has just returned from Tacloban City. “While the area is still devastated, these disaster-resilient homes stand as both a symbol of hope for victims and an example of the real difference Australian companies and the public can make to help those in critical need. It’s amazing to see how building these homes brings hope to a city that has lost so much.”
In January 2014, Habitat for Humanity Philippines signed an agreement with the Philippine government to build 852 new homes on a 10 hectare site in Tacloban City.
With the help of donors and corporate partners, Habitat for Humanity aims to build 30,000 homes in total, and hopes this tragedy may be an opportunity to build safe and decent houses for families who have been left homeless in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Mike Kane, Boral’s CEO & Managing Director, said “The work of Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan is very encouraging. We are pleased that Boral’s donation has been put to good use and that this initial rebuilding work in Tacloban City is a symbol of hope of the further work still to take place. With operations in the Philippines and more broadly throughout Asia, Boral is working with Habitat for Humanity to develop a broader partnership that will support much needed disaster resilience building in vulnerable areas in the region.”
Since the disaster, Habitat for Humanity has distributed more than 17,000 shelter repair kits, providing families with tools and materials to repair their homes. Shelter repair kits mean families can return home and focus on their livelihoods and helping others in the community, until they are able to build a new home.
Habitat for Humanity is the world’s number one not-for-profit provider of housing for low income families in need. Habitat for Humanity has built, rehabilitated and repaired more than 800,000 homes, sheltering more than 4 million people worldwide.