4K 'Ompong' victims benefit from Czech Republic's project

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

October 11, 2019, 1:11 pm

MANILA-- Czech Republic, through its embassy in Manila, announced Thursday night the conclusion of its PHP7.7 million humanitarian aid project to improve the local capacity of shelter response programs in the Philippines in the aftermath of the 2018 Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong).

The Czech Republic embassy in Manila said the project, implemented by Build Change, benefited more than 4,000 Filipinos and has generated 250 new jobs with 1,017 people directly trained in resilient building techniques.

Build Change is an international non-profit organization whose main mission is to save lives in earthquakes and hurricanes.

The initiative, which started in December 2018, sought to strengthen and rebuild storm-damaged houses due to Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) that hit struck the Philippines in September 2018.

At least 127 fatalities and around USD627 million in property losses were recorded in Mangkhut's onslaught, making it the fourth costliest Philippine typhoon of all time.

Build Change worked in Cagayan and Benguet provinces on a shelter repair program to help 700 households and 200 builders.

In Kalinga and Apayao Provinces, the focus of Build Change’s assistance was on quality new construction.

One of the additional project outcomes was the creation of a mobile application by Build Change for the Google Play store called Tibay Balay.

It helps homeowners in the Philippines to self-assess their homes and determine how to fix them before the next disaster strikes. The application was unveiled at an event last September 5.

“The frequency of typhoons and other disasters in the Philippines requires that homeowners, their communities, and the nonprofits that support them are all trained in resilient building," Jana Šedivá, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Philippines said.

"This project has rebuilt affected communities, and taught construction techniques that will prevent unnecessary loss of life and property in the future.”

Build Change country director for the Philippines Kate Landry, meanwhile, agreed that with the creation of the new mobile app Tibay Balay, any homeowner can quickly assess their house and understand what needs to be done to keep their family and property safe.

"It is our hope that these homeowners who lost so much in Mangkhut (Ompong) can restart their lives knowing their homes are safe,” she said.

The embassy said foreign humanitarian assistance is an integral part of the Czech Republic's foreign policy.

"It aims to prevent loss of life and injury, to alleviate suffering and to restore basic living conditions of people after an emergency, as well as to mitigate long-lasting consequences of emergencies and to prevent their occurrence and negative consequences," it said.

In the past years, the Czech Republic embassy has also provided humanitarian assistance, especially to those who were greatly affected by Typhoon Nina in the Bicol region in 2016 or by typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Samar in 2014. (PNA)