SENATOR Richard J. Gordon expressed hope the Philippines has become more disaster-resilient and has learned a valuable lesson from the Super Typhoon “Yolanda” almost three years after it hit several parts of the country.
Gordon, also chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, said that with the organization having almost completed its rehabilitation programs in “Yolanda”-affected provinces, he also hopes that the communities have started to recover.
“As we mark the disaster that was Yolanda, I hope our country has strengthened its disaster response and management capability. Not only the government, but all of us,” said Gordon, adding that “Yolanda” has taught us that ceaseless recovery and renewal should be our motto.
“Our country is hit by a plethora of disasters. If we don’t change our attitude, if we haven’t learned from “Yolanda,” if we are lazy, if we refuse to evacuate to safer areas, there will be another “Yolanda.””
“We have seen the tragedy magnified by lack of preparedness, the difficulties we faced in order to provide assistance, we should have learned from them,” he added.
Gordon noted that the PRC’s rehabilitation program have endeavored to help the recipient communities become more disaster-resilient: the houses and classrooms built are safer and more capable of withholding strong typhoons; the communities are better trained and have improved disaster response capabilities, among other initiatives.
Under his leadership, the PRC has built 76,461 homes as of Oct. 28, 2016 in nine “Yolanda”-devastated provinces in Eastern, Central and Western Visayas and Palawan.
PRC has also supported 62,670 families through livelihood assistance amounting to more than P752 million; repaired and reconstructed health facilities with a value of P59.9 million, as well as classrooms amounting to P128 million; and provided schools with water and sanitation facilities, worth P58.2 million, among others.
Gordon also attributed the success of PRC’s Yolanda Operations to the support of the humanitarian organization’s partners in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other private partners.
“Our Yolanda Operations would not have been as successful without the generous contributions of our partners in the RCRC Movement and our Private Partners.”
“Because of the massive destruction caused by “Yolanda,” there was also a massive outpouring of support that came to us and enabled us to alleviate the suffering AND restore THE life and dignity of people whose lives were shattered by “Yolanda,”” he said.