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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Swiss and Austrian Aid Agencies repair Pepeng-destroyed homes in Northern Luzon

A groundbreaking ceremony for the repair of more than 1,000 homes destroyed by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng was held yesterday, March 22 in Botoc, Benguet.

Some 45 houses will be repaired in Sitio Labey in Botoc, Benguet, one of the communities which suffered from extensive damages after it was hit by typhoon Pepeng (Parma) in October 2009.

Labey and neighboring villages were isolated for almost 2 months due to landslides. Although no deaths or serious injuries have been reported, agricultural lands and infrastructure were destroyed and 57 families were devastated.

About 50 people attended the ceremony. Among those in attendance were Ms. Ursina Mueller, representative of Caritas Switzerland; Lourdes Louella Escandor, executive director of Citizens' Disaster Response Center (CDRC); and Jimmy Khayog, executive director of Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CDRDS).  

In her speech, Ms. Escandor said: "It is a good thing that people started to reorganize themselves after disasters. The repair of homes will not be possible without the spirit of bayanihan in the community, and without the assistance of Caritas."

The event is part of the project "Disaster Relief for Ketsana and Parma Affected Families" funded by Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Austria and the Austrian Development Agency, and implemented by CDRC and 5 of its regional centers, which includes CDRDS.

The project aims to alleviate the suffering of 5000 families affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng through the distribution of shelter/construction materials and non-food items (plastic sheets, blankets, sleeping mats, cooking and eating utensils) and provision of psychosocial services to those suffering from post traumatic stress.

Five regions including Regions 1, 2, 3, 5 and CAR will benefit from the project. The Cordillera Region incurred most of the damages in Northern Luzon with 309 dead and P1.4 billion worth of damages.

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