'YOLANDA' REFUGEE TENT OVERNIGHT FIRE KILLS MOTHER, 5 KIDS

An overnight fire razed a tent used as a temporary shelter by survivors of Typhoon Yolanda, killing a woman and five of her children, including a 4-month-old girl, officials in a central Philippine city devastated by the massive storm said Wednesday. The tragedy highlights the slow progress in the resettlement of tens of thousands of survivors of Yolanda, which struck more than six months ago and is one of the world's strongest typhoons to make landfall. The fire was caused by a kerosene lamp and quickly consumed the canvass tent just after midnight Tuesday, Tacloban city disaster management officer Derrick Anido said. The shelter was one of 40 in a "tent city" in San Jose district, which was wiped out by tsunami-like storm surges and fierce winds from Typhoon Yolanda in November. The five children who died in the fire ranged in age from 4 months to 12 years old, Anido said. The woman's 7-year-old son, the lone survivor, was fighting for his life in a government hospital. "It happened around 12:20 ... but it was so fast that by 12:30 it was over," Anido said, adding that everyone was sleeping when the fire broke out. "Unfortunately, after surviving (the typhoon), they were killed in a fire." Tacloban is still trying to recover from the devastation wrought by the typhoon, which barreled through the central Philippines, killing at least 6,300 people and displacing more than 4 million. READ MORE...

(ALSO) Senate report: 'Yolanda' bunkhouses did not meet International standards

The Senate Committee on Public Works has concluded that the temporary shelters built for the victims of Typhoon "Yolanda" did not meet international standards. According to the Senate panel's report dated May 21, the bunkhouses were substandard because there was a lack of necessary constructions materials as required by the Department of Public Works and Highways and a lack of manpower to actually build the shelters. The report said that due to the critical necessity of building temporary shelters for the typhoon victims at the soonest time possible after the catastrophe struck, the bunkhouses were built despite the lack of specified materials required. "The bunkhouses are not in compliance with the international standards in building transitional houses. This is because these bunkhouses were built out of the available materials and resources at the time of its construction," the report said. "The prevailing emergency situation then compelled the government to urgently construct the bunkhouses despite the lack of quality resources in order to save lives, which is more important than compliance with the technicalities of the law," it added. The report, however, noted that despite the deficiencies, the bunkhouses are being remedied and the contractors are doing the necessary corrections. READ MORE...

(ALSO) Palace on bunkhouse mess: We don't need to follow int'l standards

Saying the country has its own standards, Malacañang on Wednesday denied that the bunkhouses being built for the survivors of Super Typhoon "Yolanda" were subpar and not suitable shelters for the families to be accommodated. At a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said he was told by Public Works and Highways Sec. Rogelio Singson that the bunkhouses were not in violation of the Philippine building code. "We are following our own standards. We don't necessarily have to follow international standards. But because our concern is safety, our concern is they should not be congested," Lacierda said. The Palace official said international standards require a bunkhouse unit size to be 20 square meters. When asked by the media on what the government's standards are, Lacierda also said "safety." "Our concern is for your safety and our concern is that you will not be placed in a cramped space," he said. On Monday, Singson said the bunkhouses were originally designed to have 24 room units that will each accommodate one family. But after international agencies commented that one room unit is too tight, Singson said the bunkhouses were reconfigured to have 12 room units. He said one family can now occupy not just 8.64 square meters, but 17.28 square meters in the redesigned bunkhouses. READ MORE...


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'Yolanda' refugee tent overnight fire kills mother, 5 kids


In this Feb. 13, 2014 file photo, typhoon survivors continue to be housed in tents that were donated by U.N. relief agencies after Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) devastated Tacloban city and other provinces in the Visayas. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, JUNE 2, 2014 (PHILSTAR) (Associated Press) An overnight fire razed a tent used as a temporary shelter by survivors of Typhoon Yolanda, killing a woman and five of her children, including a 4-month-old girl, officials in a central Philippine city devastated by the massive storm said Wednesday.

The tragedy highlights the slow progress in the resettlement of tens of thousands of survivors of Yolanda, which struck more than six months ago and is one of the world's strongest typhoons to make landfall.

The fire was caused by a kerosene lamp and quickly consumed the canvass tent just after midnight Tuesday, Tacloban city disaster management officer Derrick Anido said. The shelter was one of 40 in a "tent city" in San Jose district, which was wiped out by tsunami-like storm surges and fierce winds from Typhoon Yolanda in November.

The five children who died in the fire ranged in age from 4 months to 12 years old, Anido said. The woman's 7-year-old son, the lone survivor, was fighting for his life in a government hospital.

"It happened around 12:20 ... but it was so fast that by 12:30 it was over," Anido said, adding that everyone was sleeping when the fire broke out. "Unfortunately, after surviving (the typhoon), they were killed in a fire."

Tacloban is still trying to recover from the devastation wrought by the typhoon, which barreled through the central Philippines, killing at least 6,300 people and displacing more than 4 million.

"The problem is that so many people are still living in tents and we have been saying all along that these tents are fire hazards," Anido said. "And we have been requesting (the national government) to relocate them to safer shelters."

He said only 1,000 temporary houses made of wood with galvanized iron roofing had been built so far, while 14,000 families in the city still live in vulnerable coastal villages and need to be relocated.

Anido also said the site where the tents donated by the United Nations are located is prone to flooding. "It is almost June and it will soon be rainy season in Tacloban, and this will again be a problem," he said.

Senate report: 'Yolanda' bunkhouses substandard but not overpriced By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated May 28, 2014 - 2:41pm 5 39 googleplus0 0


President Benigno Aquino III with Rep. Ferdinand Martin Rumualdez, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Governor Dominic Petilla inspect bunkhouse units in Leyte. Marcelino Pascua/PCOO

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Public Works has concluded that the temporary shelters built for the victims of Typhoon "Yolanda" did not meet international standards.

According to the Senate panel's report dated May 21, the bunkhouses were substandard because there was a lack of necessary constructions materials as required by the Department of Public Works and Highways and a lack of manpower to actually build the shelters.

The report said that due to the critical necessity of building temporary shelters for the typhoon victims at the soonest time possible after the catastrophe struck, the bunkhouses were built despite the lack of specified materials required.

"The bunkhouses are not in compliance with the international standards in building transitional houses. This is because these bunkhouses were built out of the available materials and resources at the time of its construction," the report said.

"The prevailing emergency situation then compelled the government to urgently construct the bunkhouses despite the lack of quality resources in order to save lives, which is more important than compliance with the technicalities of the law," it added.

The report, however, noted that despite the deficiencies, the bunkhouses are being remedied and the contractors are doing the necessary corrections.

It also said that the bunkhouses are not overpriced since the contractors who built then have not yet been paid for the expenses that they incurred during the construction.

When the bunkhouse controversy surfaced earlier this year, Malacañang said the country doesn't need to meet international standards in the construction of the shelters.

Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas last November, flattening communities with its powerful winds and storm surges.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Yolanda damaged 1.14 million houses and affected 3.4 million families or 16 million people.

Palace on bunkhouse mess: We don't need to follow int'l standards By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated January 8, 2014 - 3:30pm 44 7853 googleplus1 2

'
They are just temporary shelters'

MANILA, Philippines - Saying the country has its own standards, Malacañang on Wednesday denied that the bunkhouses being built for the survivors of Super Typhoon "Yolanda" were subpar and not suitable shelters for the families to be accommodated.

At a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said he was told by Public Works and Highways Sec. Rogelio Singson that the bunkhouses were not in violation of the Philippine building code.

"We are following our own standards. We don't necessarily have to follow international standards. But because our concern is safety, our concern is they should not be congested," Lacierda said.

The Palace official said international standards require a bunkhouse unit size to be 20 square meters. When asked by the media on what the government's standards are, Lacierda also said "safety."

"Our concern is for your safety and our concern is that you will not be placed in a cramped space," he said.

On Monday, Singson said the bunkhouses were originally designed to have 24 room units that will each accommodate one family.

But after international agencies commented that one room unit is too tight, Singson said the bunkhouses were reconfigured to have 12 room units.

He said one family can now occupy not just 8.64 square meters, but 17.28 square meters in the redesigned bunkhouses.

"[T]hat is already acceptable to international standards because, I understand, the international standard for temporary shelter is about three square meters per person," Singson said at a televised press briefing in Malacañang.

Asked by the media if there was a compromise of international standards because of the urgent need to build the bunkhouses, Lacierda said "These are just temporary shelters."

"Please note that these are temporary bunkhouses. We are moving towards [building] permanent shelters," he said.

Lacierda, also assured that the bunkhouses were designed to be humane, saying larger families will not be made to live in a small unit.

"If you're a family of more than five, you cannot be squeezed into one unit of that 12-family bunkhouse. You have to be given two," he said.

"They're people (typhoon survivors). We are taking care of them. Their concern is our concern," Lacierda added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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