Bahrain is building more than 200 houses in a remote area of the Philippines for families whose lives were torn apart by a deadly typhoon almost two years ago.
The Bahrain Red Crescent Society (BRCS) is spearheading the $2 million initiative in the picturesque island province of Palawan, which was among several areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, or Typhoon Yolanda as it was known in the Philippines, in November 2013, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
A total of 213 homes are being built along with a vocational training centre, where local people can learn new skills.
Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest tropical cyclones to hit the country, killing at least 6,300 people and affecting around 1.1 million in different provinces.
With wind speeds of more than 300km, the enormous storm surge smashed buildings, destroyed roads and caused widespread power cuts and water shortages.
BRCS secretary-general Dr Fawzi Ameen said the Palawan reconstruction project was being funded by Bahrain’s Royal Charity Organisation, as part of an agreement signed last year to help typhoon survivors in co-ordination with the Philippine Red Cross.
“The project of building the shelter homes and a vocational centre in Palawan is on track and should be completed by the year end,” he told the GDN.
Bahrain is among 17 countries that partnered with the Philippine Red Cross for the Typhoon Haiyan recovery operation in the Central Visayas and Palawan provinces, helping 500,000 people restore their homes and livelihoods.
However, Dr Amin revealed it was one of the most complex and challenging projects the BRCS had undertaken.
“The biggest challenge is that the tribal communities are scattered in remote islands and live in isolations making it difficult to connect,” he explained.
“I have to travel by plane, bus and then a boat to reach one of the areas where shelter is being built.”
He said that once they arrive with volunteers, a meeting then has to take place with the village council to convince tribal people to rebuild their homes according to new designs.
Dr Ameen said it was imperative to construct houses with strong materials that were more resistant to typhoons and heavy rainfall.
“We are using concrete blocks to support the timber and plywood upper structure of the house,” he said.
“There is a separate toilet built outside and the house can easily accommodate a family.
“Bahrain is one of the countries that is playing a major role in restoring the livelihoods of these people.”
Meanwhile, he revealed plans to connect remote villages to the rest of the world by setting up an Internet café.
“Some young men and women who studied in cities have a different outlook and when they return to their village they have no Internet,” said Dr Ameen.
“We plan to set up an Internet café in the area that will connect tribal communities to the world.”
The GDN reported in January last year that Bahrain had donated $1 million to help thousands of typhoon victims. – TradeArabia News Service
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