DPWH target: Most Yolanda-hit schools repaired by June
MANILA, Philippines – With the rainy season just around the corner and classes soon to open, the public works department is under pressure to complete the repair of at least 1,400 school buildings in Eastern Visayas destroyed by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
The shortage of good lumber has made the task more difficult such that even if they started rehabilitation and construction work in February, the work hasn't been completed. Classes are set to start on June 2, about a month away.
“It’s difficult to find good lumber [so much so] that we have to buy from Samar, Biliran and provinces in Mindanao. Some of the suppliers even have to import lumber from Indonesia," Department of Public Works and Highways Region 8 Director Rolando Asis said on Saturday, May 3.
By the end of May, Asis added that they are targeting the completion of "about 80% to 90% of the schools that are in need of repairs."
When classes start, the DPWH foresees still working on the repairs of 140 more school buildings.
"We are trying our best to finish everything before the opening of classes in June," Asis said.
Thus far, the department is on track to finish repairing most schools damaged by the super typhoon.
Asis said good weather helped fast-track the construction and repair work, which involves fixing school buildings’ roofs, windows and doors.
The world’s strongest typhoon to make landfall, Yolanda devastated the Visayas on November 8, 2013. It left over 6,000 people dead, millions homeless, and destroyed roads and bridges.
The Department of Education said Yolanda damaged 3,171 schools, causing the suspension of classes for an extended number of days. Some students opted to continue their studies in Manila and other provinces.
A month after the typhoon, international group Save the Children noted dismal attendance when classes resumed.
Save the Children said out of 1.61 million children affected by Yolanda, 1.127 million were left without access to education. The group vowed to work with local communities to support families in bringing back their children to school.
The education department also called on the private sector to adopt schools, give them a “makeover,” and ensure that they are more resilient to disasters. – Rappler.com