Ursula damages Daanbantayan’s ‘disaster-resilient’ homes

By: Rosalie Abatayo - CDN Digital | December 26,2019 - 08:49 AM

Mother and son check the damage on the roofs of the houses at the Maya Park Homes in Daanbantayan, northern Cebu. | CDND PHOTO / Gerard Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Risa Estrera thought that her days of worrying over the safety of her family when typhoons hit Daanbantayan were over.

She felt this way in January 2019 when they moved into their new home located within Maya Park Homes, the housing project of the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.

The Estrera family used to live in the coastal area of Maya in Daanbantayan town.

On December 15, 2013, Typhoon Yolanda hit the northern part of Cebu and damaged the home of the Estrera family.

The Estreras and close to 500 families  from coastal communities survived the typhoon and lived to tell the horror stories which came with living in homes made of light materials.

The Estrera family rejoiced when it was announced that they are part of the families who will be relocated to the P187-million Maya Park Homes located in Sitio Ayong, Barangay Maya.

Maya Park Homes is one of the 31 resettlement housing projects specified under the Yolanda rehabilitation plan for the Central Visayas region.

This house, which is located inside Maya Park Homes in Barangay Maya, loses its roof as strong winds blew it off at the height of storm signal number 3 in the municipality of Daanbantayan. CDND PHOTO / Gerard Francisco

Sitting on a 5.5-hectare lot, the project has 650 housing units with each unit measuring 25 square meters.

Residents were told that they will be living in disaster-resilient resettlement homes.

But it did not feel that way on Christmas Eve, December 24, for the Estrera family.

At the onslaught of Typhoon Ursula, as the wind howled on the community and the unrelenting rain poured over the town, residents felt they were reliving the horrors of Typhoon Yolanda.

The roofs detached from their houses, which reminded them of their former homes in the coastal areas.

Those homes were easily ravaged by Yolanda

“Natuo ko nga lig-on. Di man diay ni lig-on ning pagkatrabahoa uy. Nalisang gyud kaayo mi. Nalipay mi nga nabalhin na mi diri kay di na duol sa dagat. Kurog man lang gihapon mi,”49-year-old Estrera told CDN Digital.

(I thought that this house is resilient. It did not feel that way. We were so afraid. We were happy that we were relocated here because it is not close to the sea but we were still terrified.)

Instead of having Christmas dinner with her husband, Jimmy, and two children, she said they were seated under the spot where a portion of the house’s roof remained.

Together, they prayed that the wind and rain will go away.

“Imbes nga maghigda mi, lingkod lang tawon mi ug nag-ampo nga ‘Ginoo, hunonga na intawon ni,'” Estrera said.

(Instead of lying down to relax, we were seated praying, “Lord, please let this stop.)

“Grabe kaayo ang Ursula mura pud diay og Yolanda. Nibalik akong kahadlok uy. Di lalim atong kalisang mabuhi pa ba ta,” she added.

(Typhoon Ursula was a lot like Typhoon Yolanda. My fear for our safety came rushing back. I was so terrified… asking myself if we will still be alive after the storm.)

Like the Estrera family, the roof of the house of fish vendor Marina Pepito, 56, was also partially damaged.

Several residents of Maya Park Homes complain that the materials used for the roofs and gutters are too thin to survive a strong storm. | CDND PHOTO / Gerard Francisco

Pepito was drying the family’s clothes when CDN Digital chanced upon her on Christmas Day.

She said the heavy downpour soaked many of their clothes wet.

The Pepito family was not able to share their favorite macaroni salad as part of their tradition to welcome Christmas.

“Grabeng kusoga murag segunda ni sa Yolanda,” Pepito said.

(It was so strong. It was like a second Typhoon Yolanda.)

“Nahadlok mi kay pagkusog gyud mahinimdom man gyud dayon mi sa Yolanda. Nag-brownout dayon, wa na mi ka-charge sa among mga cellphone ug flashlight, ngitngit kaayo,” she said.

(We were scared because when the wind grew stronger, we were reminded of what happened with Typhoon Yolanda. There was power blackout, we were not able to charge our cellphones and flashlights. It was very dark.)

Maya Park Homes in Barangay Maya, Daanbantayan is the home of some of the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda that hit the town on December 15, 2013. | CDND PHOTO / Gerard Francisco

In the afternoon of December 25, personnel from the local disaster risk reduction and management office (LDRRMO) of Daanbantayan visited Maya Park Homes to check the damages in the area.

Vice Mayor Gilbert Arrabis, in a separate interview, said they intend to declare a state of calamity in their area in a special session today, December 26, to allow the use of their quick response fund.

READ: State of calamity to be declared in Daanbantayan town

Aside from the residents of the relocation site, records from the provincial DRRM office show that close to 9,000 families from the coastal and island barangays of Daanbantayan town were evacuated due to Typhoon Ursula. / celr

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TAGS: Cebu weather update, Christmas weather, Typhoon Ursula

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