Utah Pinoy couple brings disaster-proof homes to Yolanda survivors

By Jared Bray, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

June 10, 2014

PROVO, Utah – A Pinoy couple is teaming up with a group of Boy Scouts of America youth members to build disaster-proof homes for survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.

Made with structural insulated panels, the 12-by-20-foot dwellings have been tested to withstand major earthquakes and winds of up to 220 miles per hour.

“Yolanda was 195, so if this home was there, it would not have blown away,” Manila native and Utah resident Rene Doria said. “The roof would not have blown away or any of its sidings. It would have remained intact.”

To purchase materials for two of these unique houses, Doria and his wife, Jean, raised funds with members of their non-profit foundation, IHHELPP (Improving Housing, Health, Education and Livelihood of the Poor in the Philippines), along with 12 local Boy Scouts.

“They noticed I was feeling bad after I had heard about the storm,” Doria said. “And these boys were the ones who said, ‘We’d like to do something about it. Can we help?’ And so we started planning.”

The group is constructing both of the homes in Tacloban City with the help of the families who will ultimately reside in them.

They cost $4,000 each and are the first of their kind in the Philippines, according to Doria.

“Our IHHELPP Foundation is hoping that the government can see that you can actually build an affordable disaster-proof home,” he said.

In addition to helping families build new homes, the group is also distributing school supplies, hygiene kits, sports equipment, kitchen utensils and construction tools.

“Because of the destruction, a lot of them don’t have anything and so bringing these things will help them,” Boy Scout Nathan Novilla said.

The group plans to complete its project and return to Utah by mid-June.

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