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New, better life for Cadiz folk

New, better life for Cadiz folk

By Carla P. Gomez
Philippine Daily Inquirer


NEGROS OCCIDENTAL—Super Typhoon “Yolanda” flattened houses and flipped over boats in a fishing village on Lakawon Island off Cadiz City, Negros Occidental province, on Nov. 8, 2013. More than four  months after the devastation, the islet’s 280 families are given a chance to start anew with the help of a nongovernment organization.

Kalipay Negrense Foundation is building houses out of harm’s way for the displaced families in mainland Cadiz. The people had been squatting on Lakawon, a 13-hectare, banana-shaped islet off the coast of Cadiz with a stretch of white-sand beach on one side and a small fishing village on the other.

The islet was among the areas in northern Negros Occidental that bore the brunt of Yolanda. At least 280 families lost their houses while 90 percent of the fishermen lost their boats, said Anna Balcells, president of the nonprofit Kalipay Negrense Foundation based in Bacolod City.

“It is ironic that Lakawon is a paradise island-resort, and yet, at one end of it, so many people are destitute,” she said.

After visiting the typhoon-hit areas and speaking to Cadiz Mayor Patrick Escalante, Kalipay members decided to adopt the fishing community of Lakawon due to the islet’s extent of damage.

Although no one died in Cadiz during the storm, strong winds destroyed

5,006 houses and 120 bancas, and damaged about 17,000 houses and 240 bancas. At least P200 million worth of government infrastructure was ruined.

Balcells, who returned to Negros Occidental for good from Spain where she had lived for many years, saw an opportunity to appeal for help for those displaced by the typhoon.

As donations poured in, Kalipay extended assistance not only to Cadiz but also to other areas in the Visayas. It provided relief and medical items, as well as clothes, to people living on Bantayan Island in Cebu province and Capiz province on Panay Island.

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