During the mid-term plan, which started in early February, Tzu Chi will build 2,000 houses in Ormoc city, 1,000 in Palo town and 200 in Tacloban city, all located in Leyte province. When field investigation and negotiation with local government complete, Tzu Chi will build more houses in Tacloban city, Li said at a press conference held at the foundation's Manila headquarters.
Houses built in the mid-term plan are temporary. For the long- term plan, the foundation will build permanent houses and classrooms, he said.
Since the typhoon, locally known as Yolanda, wreaks havoc in central Philippines in November last year, Tzu Chi has already provided P1.2 billion ($26.5 million) to survivors of the disaster, which has killed more than 6,200 people and left 1,785 others missing, the most deadly casualties caused by a single typhoon, Li said.
The foundation launched a 19-day program to motivate disaster survivors to clean up their communities which have been devastated by the typhoon, giving out 300,000 vouchers, each equivalent to P500 in cash, to local participants. To hasten the clean up efforts, it brought in 54 units of heavy equipment to remove tons of garbage and debris in Tacloban city.
It has also released P900 million ($19.9 million) for the Cash-for-Work Program, with at least P8,000 for a family of two or three members and P15,000 for a family of more than five members, Li said.
"The purpose of the Cash-for-Work program is not hiring people to work but to uplift their body and spirit with love and motivate them to take action to rebuild their own lives," he added.
Carla Cheng, a volunteer of Tzu Chi, told Xinhua the foundation members also cooked and served hot meals for 280,320 people and distributed 68,000 blankets to local residents.
Volunteer medical experts from the Tzu Chi International Medical Association from eight countries took turns in conducting free clinics in different areas in Leyte. They have provided free consultation and medicines to 8,397 patients in general medicines, pediatrics, surgery, dental, ophthalmology, dermatology and acupuncture, she said.
Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines is the local branch of Taiwan- based Tzu Chi Foundation founded by Dharma Master Cheng Yen in 1966. Tzu Chi has sub-branches in 47 countries and regions. It conducts its mission via an international network of volunteers.