TACLOBAN CITY- The Philippine Red Cross is to distribute 77,803 corrugated or GI sheets to owners whose houses were either damaged or destroyed during the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda. The distribution of the corrugated sheets is just the latest assistance provided by the PRC to the storm survivors. The PRC had earlier built more than 5,000 houses in Leyte, Samar and Eastern Samar provinces in the aftermath of Yolanda. The 77,803 GI sheets, valued at P38.2 million, are just an initial shipment intended for the survivors of Yolanda, said PRC chairman Richard Gordon. “The next big wave of our shelter program for the survivors of typhoon Yolanda will begin with the arrival of more than two hundred crates of GI sheets. The initial shipment will benefit 8,000 families,” Gordon said.

PRC secretary general Gwendolyn Pang said that 300,000 GI sheets were ordered to complete the shelter program of the organization in Eastern Visayas. She said the GI sheets were procured in partnership with the American, Australian, Netherlands, Swiss, Qatar and Japanese Red Cross societies. The PRC has already built 4,000 houses in Samar and Eastern Samar provinces with 808 in Leyte and with 125 on-going constructions. In the last two weeks, eight houses have already been built in Barangay Bagacay, Tacloban. The housing program in the city identified initial nine barangays.

PRC targets 5,000 core-shelter in Tacloban and 14,000 in Leyte with partners from National Societies while it targets 5,000 units in Samar with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Of the more than 77,000 pieces of corrugated sheets, Tacloban and Ormoc will have 67,495 while Cebu will get 10,308. The customized GI sheets conform to international standard and had them painted red, so donors can identify where the Red Cross houses are located. On top of building storm resilient houses, which can withstands 280 kph wind and made of semi-concrete materials, the PRC will also give shelter assistance kit comprising cash assistance of P10,000 and 10 GI sheets.

Pang said that the magnitude of response by the Red Cross in the aftermath of Yolanda is unprecedented. “But through it all, we have managed to work together and combine our resources to achieve our mission of alleviating human suffering,” Pang said. According to Pang, in the last ten years, the PRC has built over 50,000 shelter units across the entire country due to multiple disasters. For Yolanda-stricken areas alone, the Philippine Red Cross will build over 70,000 shelter units by next year. Leo Haniff Ko, head of operation for Typhoon Yolanda-Leyte, assured the survivors that the PRC will continue to provide assistance to them. “We are born to serve, and this is just part more big things to come from the organization,”Ko said. (VICKY C.ARNAIZ)