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263 new houses in Pope Francis village given to 566 Yolanda families

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Some 263 new houses will now be occupied by 566 families who survived Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.

The CBCP said the new houses will be inside the Pope Francis Village in Leyte province, which bore the brunt of Yolanda’s wrath.

Yolanda cut a swath in the Visayas and parts of Luzon and Mindanao in November 2013, leaving more than 6,000 dead.

The P187.8 million housing project was constructed under a consortium of Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, Caritas Philippines, Archdiocese of Palo, Redemptorist Congregation, and the Urban Poor Associates.

It will have about 566 housing units, six multipurpose classroom, a chapel, village market, and waste water treatment and materials recovery facilities.

Canadian delegates led by Bishop Noel Simard graced the turnover ceremony along with church and government officials last Feb. 10.

Simard said the event was “a manifestation of us in Canada responding to the great need and suffering you have experienced in 2013.”

“And now seeing the happy faces of the families, of the children in their new homes, we can only say that D&P did the right thing pushing for this project,” Simard said.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez of Caritas Philippines reiterated the Church’s commitment to help the Yolanda victims.

“The way we were able to organize the survivors and mobilize all resources available were a reflection of our commitment to better the lives of the most vulnerable,” he said.

Jess Agustin, country manager of D&P, said the Pope Francis Village is “truly an integrated, community-driven model community that is reflective of the people’s aspirations.”

“Our work in providing alternatives like Pope Francis Village’s model community has been an expression of solidarity and hope, despite despair, hatred and division,” he said.

The construction of Pope Francis Village is expected to be completed in June 2019.