The typhoon season in the Philippines returned with a vengeance on 16 July when Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) swept through the north of the country leaving 94 people dead, more than 300 injured, and tens of thousands homeless.
ShelterBox response team members John Cordell (US) and Toby Ash (UK) arrived in the Bicol region, where the typhoon first hit land, on 19 June to carry out a damage assessment. ‘Once again we have seen how the destructive power of these violent storms singles out the poorest and most vulnerable. We found a mother and her seven children eeking out an existence in the ruins of their former home. We found another family sheltering in a bus shelter after the roof of their house was blown away,’ says Ash.
The local government estimates that about 7,000 homes in Bicol were totally destroyed by Rammasun, which packed winds of up to 185 km an hour. ‘We have travelled extensively in and around the city of Legazpi in Albay province, often to quite remote areas,’ adds Ash. ‘The monsoon rains are pouring and we have found families with little or nothing to protect themselves from the elements’.
ShelterBox aims to transport tents and other vitally needed equipment from prepositioned stock in the country to the worst affected areas. A ShelterBox response team led by Owen Smith (NZ) will hopefully travel to Legazpi to coordinate aid distribution. ShelterBox is being assisted in Albay by the Rotary Club of Legazpi, who are providing logistics, warehousing and manpower support.