Super Typhoon Haiyan, one year on: Singapore Red Cross rebuilding work 'on track'

The SRC's aid efforts include land and sea ambulances.
The SRC's aid efforts include land and sea ambulances.PHOTO: SINGAPORE RED CROSS

One year after Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of the Philippines, the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) is handing over a series of rebuilding projects to recovering local communities.

In Albuera, a municipality in the province of Leyte, a new vocational school, built with advanced prefabrication technology from Singaporean engineering company Wynasean, will train almost 270 students. It will also also serve as an emergency evacuation centre.

The SRC is also handing over 15 rebuilding and rehabilitation projects on Busuanga island in Palawan province. The projects will benefit some 6,000 residents, as well as the island's indigenous Tagbanua tribe. The projects include the building of a model organic farm, installation of irrigation systems and the provision of two ambulances on land and sea.

Typhoon Haiyan made landfall this time last year, affecting about 16 million people in central Visayas in the Philippines.

Since the launch of the Typhoon Haiyan public appeal, SRC has raised $12.26 million from Singapore. Albuera and Busuanga are two of the eight areas SRC has committed to rebuilding. Its programmes are expected to reach about 1.5 million people.

About 50 SRC volunteers have gone to the affected areas to assist in relief and rebuilding efforts.

SRC Secretary General Benjamin William said that of the 20 post-disaster recovery and reconstruction programmes it has been working on, 11 have been completed and handed over, with nine more on track for on-time delivery.

"We are not commando humanitarians," he said, adding that SRC will continue to deploy volunteers and Red Cross Youth to the completed projects to maintain a link with the local communities. He expects the remaining projects to be completed by the end of next year.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg