Philippines to finish bunkhouses by March

January 07, 2014 - 7:13:55 am
MANILA:  The Philippines said yesterday that temporary shelters being built for victims of super Typhoon Haiyan may be completed by March.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which oversees the construction of temporary shelters, said it needs one or two more months to ensure that the bunkhouses meet international standards.

“We are making adjustments to address issues of ventilation, space and security,” Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio L Singson told a press briefing in the presidential palace.

The Philippine government decided to make the adjustments after experts from international agencies said the original design of the DPWH was “too cramped.”

“Instead of 24 families per bunkhouse, we are reducing it to 12 so the shelters won’t be too packed,” said Singson.

He said the construction of new bunkhouses was suspended to retrofit existing temporary shelters. To date, the DPWH has already constructed 126 bunkhouses.

Singson said the initial target was to transfer 6,000 families to temporary shelters by the end of January. But because of the changes, he said the government would have to reduce the number of families that would be accommodated.

The DPWH vowed to put on hold payments for contractors who will not adhere to its specifications for building the bunkhouses. Singson made the statement following allegations that some contractors have conspired with local politicians to jack up the price of constructing the shelters.  

The Philippine government said it is now in the process of identifying areas where permanent shelters could be built. Singson said it would take more than two years to complete a permanent shelter program for typhoon victims.

Typhoon Haiyan, killed more than 6,100 people and destroyed 550,928 homes.

The Philippine Star