Typhoon Haiyan: thanks for your generosity

The people of Culion Island in Palawan are very resilient and many have already re-built their houses. But they are still made out of light materials such as GI sheets, plywood or local nipa walls; and they have been built on the coastal line - the same area which would make them very vulnerable to disaster again. So, for SLB, more than simply repairing the houses, we intend to create safer communities. Our priority projects in Culion are housing rehabilitation, not in the form of building their pre-Yolanda houses but relocating some of the most vulnerable communities to a safer location, along with providing them with livelihood assistance. We are also aiming to build homes with greater capacity, which are more habitable, thereby preventing the people from having to go back to the coastal zones.

Culion used to be a leper colony and living conditions are still of an under-developed community. It has great potential for economic growth if only it could be given the proper assistance and guidance in its aim to develop eco-tourism. So our project in Culion is not only looking at assisting the rehabilitation in the priority areas but also empowering the Local Government Unit and the local community to take advantage of this situation and to see it as an opportunity for development. The parish has identified as a priority the communities of Galoc, Osmena and Binudac, with a multipurpose evacuation centre planned for two indigenous people's communities in Chindunan Balete and Alulad.

We are very aware that with the magnitude and impact of Haiyan's destruction in the different parts of our nation it will be very hard for us to recover, rebuilt, rehabilitate and rise up on our own. The response of the international community has been overwhelming, fuelling us to rebuild again, given that we do not have enough resources on our own. It boosts the spirit of the people to know that we are not alone in this challenge, that there are many people beyond our knowing who love the Philippines and would want us to rise up again.

To the people of the UK who have been generously supporting us, thank you very much. We are very grateful for your support. The assistance of the international community in the Philippines has been a great blessing and enabling asset for the affected families of Haiyan (Yolanda). Your donations will surely bring a long way of improvement in the lives of the affected people of Yolanda. Your attention and your show of love to the Philippines is a boost to our morale. Knowing that many people are behind us supporting us and pushing us to rise up again brings courage that as a nation we can surpass this challenge. May our dear Lord, bless you. We will always pray for you.