By Christian V. Cabajar

MANILA, Nov. 7 –– The government has launched measures to assist those severely affected by a spate of strong quakes that jolted various parts of Mindanao of late, with various agencies being mobilized to assess the extent of damage caused by the tremors.

Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (now DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo D. Del Rosario said several government agencies, including the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), had been tasked to provide immediate assistance to families affected by the calamities.

According to del Rosario, who is also the chairman of the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), around Php7.2 billion is needed to reconstruct some 20,000 houses that were damaged by the temblors.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Del Rosario, who recently visited affected areas in Mindanao, said that emergency housing assistance, including cash, had been given to severely affected residents and that a database which the government will use as a guide for the next phase of its reconstruction plan is now being drafted.

Del Rosario likewise disclosed that his department had discussed with partner agencies a new design for houses that will be constructed in affected areas, saying the housing units are more resilient to natural disasters, cheaper and environment-friendly.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, more than 180,000 people have been affected by the recent quakes and are in need of humanitarian assistance, as well as other basic necessities. (CVCabajar/HUDCC)