Building a Better Shelter

February 24, 2014 • Philippines
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A workshop gives typhoon victims in the Philippines the tools to construct a temporary home that will last

Samaritan’s Purse, in partnership with the Philippines Department of Social Welfare, recently co-hosted the first one-day shelter
 workshop in Tanauan, a town caught in the eye of Typhoon Haiyan last November.

Many structures in Tanauan were destroyed or damaged in the powerful storm known locally as Yolanda. Makeshift cemeteries remain scattered along the roads approaching the town.

Many people died as their homes were simply not strong enough to withstand tsunami-like walls of water and ferocious winds of more than 190 mph.

As part of 
the area’s reconstruction effort, our shelter workshop taught community members better and safer ways to build family dwellings.

Classroom instruction laid the groundwork for the construction lessons.

Classroom instruction laid the groundwork for the construction lessons.

In the morning, local and foreign engineers provided 45 participants with lessons on house shapes and ratios as well as how to build different parts of the structure, such as the foundation and roofing.

In
 the afternoon, the engineers demonstrated these concepts with real 
wood and nails, and teams of trainees were afforded the opportunity to practice what they had learned. Their energy and excitement were apparent as they hammered, cut, and carried lumber to build five strong model homes.

Participants had a chance to get hands-on with the building materials in the afternoon session.

Participants had a chance to get hands-on with the building materials in the afternoon session. They will share their knowledge with their neighbors.

The day ended with group discussions and presentations on how to implement the learned principles back in their communities.

Tanauan is about an hour’s drive south of Tacloban City on Leyte Island. Samaritan’s Purse has been working here in various ways since shortly after the disaster struck. Franklin Graham visited the area and met with the town’s mayor, Pel Tecson, on November 25.

More of these workshops are planned in other municipalities in the near future.

Learning how to construct micro-shelters is the first step to building a full-scale house.

Learning how to construct micro-shelters is the first step to building a full-scale house.

Before the rainy season begins again in August, Samaritan’s Purse plans to help the people of the Philippines build 10,000 shelters and 6,000 latrines. Local lumber, cut from storm-damaged trees, will be used.

Please pray for Samaritan’s Purse staff in the shelter program as they work diligently to meet the urgent needs of Filipinos struggling to rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan.

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