Priest confirms planned transfer of ‘Yolanda’ survivors

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PALO, Leyte, Oct. 8, 2014—The Archdiocese of Palo has confirmed earlier reports of a government plan to relocate Yolanda survivors who still have no homes to call their own despite almost a year of rehabilitation work in the area.

Fr. Rex Ramirez, Vicar General of the archdiocese, verified over Church-run Radyo Veritas that the local government unit (LGU) of Palo, indeed, intends to transfer disaster survivors, composed of at least 250 families, from the Government Center compound in Candahug where they currently stay, to the 300 permanent houses being readied for them.

Many families in Leyte and Samar remain homeless — without permanent shelter — a year after super typhoon Yolanda. (Photo: Fr. Edgar Abucejo)

“I had a meeting with Palo LGU officials, and they informed me that the deadline for the relocation of Yolanda survivors is due on November,” Ramirez said.

In case these permanent houses will not be finished as scheduled, the priest shared that the Palo LGU will have to move residents to the temporary shelters waiting for them in other parts of Palo.

Ramirez explained it is likely that the Government Center will have some use during the papal visit.

Meanwhile, the priest reported that preparations are already underway for the first anniversary of Yolanda, which hit the Visayas—Leyte and Eastern Samar in particular—in November 2013.

Various activities will be held by the archdiocese as well as by the LGU in commemoration of the thousands who died in the tragedy, Ramirez added.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC), as many as 3.4 million individuals have been affected by the super typhoon.

Soon after Yolanda’s onslaught, Pope Francis signified his interest to come to the country to personally meet the typhoon survivors.

Taking with him his message of mercy and compassion, the Argentinian pontiff is set to visit Asia’s largest Catholic nation from January 15 to 19, 2015.

Francis will be the third pope to visit the Philippines after his predecessors, Pope Paul VI and St. John Paul II. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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