P40B Pesos Set Aside …. and a grand total of 200 Housing Kits to be Distributed?

Okay, call me crazy but this makes me crazy and it should make you crazy unless I’m misunderstanding it. And let me say at the outset, I’ve got 60 homeless family members in Guinob-an, Lawaan, Eastern Samar so I have a personal interest in this.

The Manila Standard today is carrying a grand announcement by the government under the exciting, encouraging headline: P40-b rehab fund set aside.

So far so good.

The report, by Ronald Reyes, quotes Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. (who would be the official press secretary of President Aquino) as saying that the government has earmarked P40.9 billion ($95M) to fund the rehabilitation of disaster areas in Eastern Visayas after the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Coloma Jr. said the money will be spent in priority areas located within the 50-kilometer zone from the eye of Typhoon Yolanda that struck Eastern Visayas and nearby regions and includes 171 municipalities in 14 provinces and six regions, Coloma said over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

These municipalities cover 4,971 barangays in an area of 25,000 square kilometers with an estimated total population 6.6 million as of 2010, he said. He added that the DOST is conducting continuing analysis of satellite images to guide on-ground assessment of actual needs.

“The brunt of Typhoon Yolanda’s powerful onslaught, Signal No. 4 wind velocity of up to 250 kph and accompanying storm surge, was absorbed by 63 municipalities in Region 8’s Leyte and Samar provinces; as well as 84 municipalities in (the Western Visayas region). “

“These municipalities cover 4,971 barangays in an area of 25,000 square kilometers with an estimated total population (as of 2010) of 6.6 million,” he added.

Still good. It’s encouraging that the government is getting a grip on these figures which begin to tell the tale of the scope of the rehabilitation problem. I hope the rest of the world takes note — 4,971 barangays, 6.6 million people altogether. These are staggering numbers.

Also this:

“Yolanda also affected 2,335,031 families or 10,999,244 people in 12,014 villages in 44 provinces. Of the 48,084 families or 218,512 people are staying in 1,084 evacuation shelters.”

Then it starts to get strange.

“Coloma announced the allocation as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 70% of the debris left in Eastern Samar by Yolanda has already been cleared even as the death toll reached 5,632 with 1,759 still missing and 26,136 injured.”

So, NDRRM says 70% of the debris has been cleared? Excuse me but that sounds completely ridiculous to me. Am I wrong? How are they measuring that?

Then: “NDRRMC Executive Director Eduardo del Rosario said that as of November 29, various government agencies tasked with clearing operations were able to remove 69,672 cubic meters of debris in Leyte, reflecting a 92 percent rate of accomplishment.”

What is a “92% rate of accomplishment”?

Elsewhere the article says: “But field reports disclosed that tons of debris from damage infrastructures and private structures have not yet been removed especially in the interior villages of Tacloban City and other municipalities in the province.” Ya think?

Now comes the best (worst) part:

“We are talking about 240,000 partially damaged houses which will be the focused of the distribution of construction materials by the government,” Del Rosario said.

He said the building materials that would be shipped to Eastern Visayas includes roofing materials, nails, hammer, wooden saw and umbrella nails which will handed to owners of the damaged houses.

Del Rosario said every household will be given 24 pieces of roofing sheets, one hammer, one wooden saw, one and a half kilo of 3-inch nails, 1.5 killos of umbrella nails which they will using for the reconstructions of partially-damage dwellings.

“So, when we give a family of buildings materials, they would now have the capacity to repair their roofs in order to protect them from the heat of sunlight and rains in the coming days,” Del Rosario explained.

He said the distribution of the materials will commence Sunday in three unidentified municipalities and three villages as pilot-testing areas of the reconstruction wherein 200 families would be the first batch of beneficiaries.

Okay, so let me get this straight:

The government now calculates that 2,335,031 families or 10,999,244 people in 12,014 villages in 44 provinces have been hit and then he talks about 240,000 partially damaged homes ……

And the number of shelter kits they are going to give out?

200.

In three “unspecified municipalities”.

Now … I don’t want to be overly negative but this is like something on the scale we would do as a handful of private citizens raising a little money….. The total cost of the shelter kits they’re going to give out is surely no more than in the 10’s of thousands of dollars.

The 200 “pilot project” its address exactly .08% of the damaged homes — that is less than one tenth of 1% (and the figure of 240,000 is suspect and likely low).

I don’t want to sound like I’m getting excessively negative but someone needs to blow the whistle on this sort of “blowing smoke” where they make it sound it something is happening and it’s not, not really. I have ten households in my family who are homeless right now so this is personal.

What we need to be hearing is an announcement more like this.

Instead of “He said the distribution of the materials will commence Sunday in three unidentified municipalities and three villages as pilot-testing areas of the reconstruction wherein 200 families would be the first batch of beneficiaries.”

It should be: “He said that the government has entered into contracts with the three top suppliers of corrugated roofing and other need materials who are delivering on a priority basis sufficient materials for the first 50,000 “home-kits”, which will be containerized within 4-5 days and shipped to the Visayays for distribution beginning on December 10. Thereafter further shipments, each with enough for 50,000 homes, will be put on barges and shipped weekly. Del Rosario estimates that by January 15, 2014, over 200,000 kits will have been distributed.”

Now that would give me hope.

200 kits, pilot project. Not so much.

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