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Disaster preparedness center to rise in ‘Yolanda’ ground zero

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Residents displaced by the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas region in 2013 appeal for help from motorists. —RICHARD A. REYES

TACLOBAN CITY—A four-story building that will serve as the depository of lessons learned from the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in Eastern Visayas in 2013 will rise here to equip people to better deal with calamities.

Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman of the Climate Change Commission and Mayor Cristina Romualdez led the recent groundbreaking of the Philippine Center for Climate Resilience building, which will feature a training center to prepare communities for the impact of climate change.

The structure in Barangay Salvacion, about 14 kilometers north of the city center, will rise on a 1.5-hectare lot inside a protected area of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The building, which will be constructed with an initial P50 million donated by Sen. Loren Legarda, is expected to be finished in six months.

De Guzman said Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar also committed P100 million for the project.

“We should continue to learn from the lessons of Yolanda,” said De Guzman. The structure, he said, would be a “depository of all documentation of the Yolanda experience.”

The nongovernment group PH Haiyan Advocacy Cooperative, which campaigned for protection of the environment in the aftermath of Yolanda’s devastation, pushed the project.

Romualdez welcomed the center’s establishment in Tacloban, considered the ground zero of Yolanda, the world’s strongest typhoon to hit land.

“Not only are you the ground zero of Yolanda but also the ground zero of resilience radiating all over the country and the world,” De Guzman told Taclobanons.

He said he would showcase the project during a climate change summit in Bonn, Germany in November.

“This is certainly a major development and they might just extend assistance to us,” he said.

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