Philippines to Enlarge Temporary Shelters for Typhoon Victims

Philippines bunkhouseThe Philippine government announced recently that they expect to complete temporary housing for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the country last November, by March.

The Department of Public Works and Highways is overseeing the project. Department officials say they need an additional one or two months to be sure that the temporary bunkhouses being constructed meet international building standards. Some international relief organizations had expressed concerns that the temporary living spaces were too small to accommodate families. Builders are also addressing issues related to ventilation and security.

The buildings will now be built to accommodate 12 families each, instead of the 24 as originally designed. Partitions between rooms will be removed to create larger living spaces. The government has temporarily suspended construction of new bunkhouses until the ones that have already been built are retro-fitted to make them bigger.

The government is currently in the process of identifying potential sites for permanent housing, which could take over two years to complete. The Philippine government estimates that the price tag for the construction of temporary and permanent housing will be about $8 million over the next four years.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8, 2013. The storm killed over 6,100 people, destroyed over 500,000 homes, damaged an equal number, and displaced over four million people. Before construction of the temporary bunkhouses began, survivors had been living in tent cities and evacuation centers. About 87 construction firms from across the Philippines volunteered to construction the temporary shelters in 42 sites in the central Philippines area of Eastern Visayas.