Philippine officials said Friday they are shifting their focus from relief work to relocation and rehabilitation for victims of a landslide that wiped out a village in the central Philippines two weeks ago.
The side of a mountain in Southern Leyte province cascaded down on Guinsaugon on Feb. 17, killing more than 1,000 people and covering the farming community with mud, rocks and boulders.
Provincial Gov. Rosette Lerias said officials of St. Bernard town, where Guinsaugon is located, are putting the final touches on acquiring a 7.2-hectare (10.5-acre) property on which more than 400 survivors will be relocated.
Lerias said U.S. Marines, who helped in the rescue operations, will help build temporary shelters before permanent homes are constructed at the new community. The Marines also will help in road repairs, and building kitchens and medical clinics for evacuees, she said.
"As soon as the papers are completed, we will start construction immediately," she said by telephone.
She said hundreds of people, including many survivors, attended a religious ceremony designating the former village as sacred ground.
An ecumenical mass was held on a riverbank across from Guinsaugon, where workers built a 3-meter (10-foot) wooden cross facing the devastated community, she said, reports the AP.
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