From tarps to steel roofs: Filipinos move to transitional shelters

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Jeniffer and Maria Cecelia Awa stand outside their home with their 2-week-old son, Jesse, as they talk to Catholic Relief Services officials in Barangay Cabarasan Guti, near Tanauan, Philippines, Feb. 6. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

TANAUAN, Leyte, Feb. 7, 2014 — Two-week-old Jesse Awa did not seem to mind the sound of loud hammering and saw blades cutting through wood as he slept peacefully, snuggled in his mother’s arms.

Just a few feet away, carpenters worked under a hot midday sun constructing a new home, albeit temporary, for his family.

His parents, Jeniffer and Maria Cecelia Awa, were excited though. In a couple of days they, Jesse and their three other school-age children would be able to move into a model transitional shelter, a far better alternative than their Typhoon Haiyan-ravaged home.

“I’m too much happy for my family,” Maria Cecelia Awa said.

“It’s a very helpful program because we can sleep well without any worries,” said Jeniffer Awa, a mechanic who works in nearby Tunauan.

The Awa family is the first in the community, known as Barangay Cabarasan Guti, who are preparing to move into a shelter being built from felled coconut trees in the poor rural community. The shelter is part of a burgeoning Catholic Relief Services typhoon recovery effort.

While not victims of the powerful storm surge because their community is nearly a mile from the Pacific Ocean shore, the Awas rode out the storm in their home as parts of it were peeled away by the fierce winds from the Nov. 8 storm. Currently, a tarp covers a portion of their tiny home made of wood, palm leaves and rusty corrugated steel.

“It was bad. It was an unforgettable moment,” Jeniffer Awa said. [Full story]


Catholic News Service

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