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45 siege-affected families get permanent houses

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Forty-five (45) siege-affected families housed at the Tulungatung transitory site have returned to their permanent homes courtesy of the Australian government and other implementing agencies under the Zamboanga Recovery Project (ZRP).

This, as Australian Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Mat Kimberley and Mayor Beng Climaco together with officials from the Community and Family Services International (CFSI), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Archdiocese of Zamboanga Thursday morning led the handover of permanent houses to 45 untagged families in barangay Tulungatung.

A day care cetner with water, sanitation and hygiene facility and playground that can accommodate 30 children per class session put up at the resettlement site, was also turned over.

“Australia is committed to support the continuing recovery of this city under the Zamboanga Recovery Project,” Kimberly said stressing “I am honored to meet some of the families supported by the project and to be among the first visit their new permanent homes.”

Mayor Climaco thanked the Australian government, CFSI, CRS and Zambo Archdiocese for coming in to the aid of the local government and the internally displaced persons. “Starting today you are no longer IDPs,” she declared even as she urged the beneficiaries to take good care of the permanent dwellings and help Zamboanga build back better.

The 45 homes turned over in Tulungatung Thursday came less than a month after 35 houses were also turned over to untagged families in San Roque under the ZRP where 15 other families received support from Australia to build permanent houses on their own land.

The Australian government has poured in P102 million for the implementation of the ZRP implemented by the CFSI and CRS and aimed to support families who have been internally displaced during the siege last September 2013. The assistance includes the provision of permanent shelters, psychosocial and protection services, support to host communities and health and disease surveillance. The project will likewise provide 1,000 families with livelihood funding and skills training support.

The beneficiaries expressed elation as they moved to their permanent homes stressing that they now have permanent homes after 3 years of transferring from different evacuation centers and transitory sites. “We are very grateful to the Australian government, the CFSI, CRS as well as the LGU and the Archdiocese of Zamboanga who helped us in so many ways,” Antonette Gerolaga, vice president of the Home Owners association in Tulungatung declared. (Sheila Covarrubias)




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