At least 166 classrooms are expected to be completed in typhoon Yolanda-hit areas by January 31 this month, just in time for the Chinese new year, said Mu Nai Sheng, Deputy manager of the Chinese Red Cross for its classroom building project.
Sheng, who has been in Leyte since December 6 last year for the Chinese Red Cross various humanitarian assistance, said they want the school building construction to be finished the soonest possible time “so the children will feel a bit comfortable in attending classes.”
Along with Sheng are 34 Chinese Red Cross volunteers helping in the school building project.
“We are here to help. We feel your suffering, and we’re sorry for what happened in your country,” Sheng said in an interview.
Sheng however believed that Filipinos will rise from their situation, adding that “Filipinos are very strong people.”
“This is the first time I visited Philippines, and I admire your resiliency. The people here still manage to smile despite what happened,” added Sheng, whose previous humanitarian projects include that of rebuilding Maldives, Sri Lanka and Indonesia among other countries.
According to Sheng, the prefabricated classrooms, whose all materials came straight from China, can last up to five years, depending however on its usage.
“Each classroom has an area of 60 square meters which can accommodate a good number of students,” Sheng said.
Michael Regis, school principal of Palo National High School, has expressed gratitude to the Red Cross as his school is a recipient of 26 new classrooms from the humanitarian agency.
According to Regis, typhoon Yolanda destroyed more than 30 classrooms in his school, which brought a big problem to the students when they reopened classes on December 2 last year.
“We are really thankful for the help from the Red Cross volunteers both from China and the Philippines, also to the Department of Public Works and Highways for assisting in the construction of our classrooms,” Regis added.
Meanwhile Sheng said that aside from transitional classrooms they built in Palo, they are also building the same in Tacloban, and soon in Dulag, Tanauan, and Tolosa, for both elementary and high school.
The Department of Education has earlier said that more than 4, 500 classrooms were destroyed when typhoon Yolanda hit central Philippines last November 8, 2013.