With Response Team members operating across five different islands, ShelterBox’s operational response to Typhoon Haiyan is proving to be one of the most complex and large scale of recent years.
Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc across the coastal islands of the Philippines causing up to 95% damage in some towns and cities. This left communities reeling but also caused widespread infrastructure and communications damage heavily hampering the ability of governments, aid agencies and NGOs to respond swiftly.
Multiple teams, multiple locations
ShelterBox’s in country Operations Coordinator for this response is Alice Jefferson (UK) who has the task of overseeing the delivery of aid to the families in most need:
‘We currently have five separate areas within the Philippines from where we are moving either vitally needed ShelterBox aid, our Response Teams or both.’
Alice and her teammates are operating from outside Cebu City on Cebu Island where they are overseeing operations and acting as a key link in the logistics chain as aid passes through Cebu and onwards to Bantayan Islands to the north and Leyte Island in the east.
ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs) are also operating on the Island of Bohol where earlier in the year a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck, damaging buildings and infrastructure and claiming lives across the region. ShelterBox responded to the earthquake, sending a Response Team to the affected area. The team were distributing aid on Bohol Island when Typhoon Haiyan struck and have been continuing distribution of ShelterBox tents since. Having completed the current distribution on Bohol Island the team is now travelling to join the team on Cebu.
On the remote island of Bantayan the SRTs have been distributing much needed aid to families who have lost their homes since Typhoon Haiyan hit. The island has a population of 30,000 people and some 27,000 are now feared to be without homes.
Meanwhile another SRT has been operating in Manilla to help oversee the movement of aid through to Cebu island. The logistics of getting aid cleared through airports and harbours is, in itself, a challenge due to the damaged infrastructure and the surge of overseas freight arriving in the Philippines. Experience gained from years of responding to disasters such as the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 and the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 has allowed the ShelterBox Operations team to ‘drip-feed’ a constant supply of aid into the Philippines through a variety of different entrance points. This has in turn enabled the Response Teams on the ground in the Philippines to have a continual but manageable flow of aid to distribute amongst the Typhoon affected communities.
A SRT are now beginning assessment and possible distribution of further aid on Leyte Island. ShelterBox aid will continue to arrive in coming weeks and Response Teams on the ground will continue to explore new ways of getting vitally needed shelter and aid to families who have lost everything as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.
If you would like to support our ongoing efforts please donate to the ShelterBox Australia Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Appeal.
Terrified for her children as the heavy rains and violent winds thrashed down on her home in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, 32-year-old Marizmer Marquez hunted for a safe place to hide her baby and second youngest child as she feared her home collapsing. Knowing that Typhoon Bopha had cut the power hours before, Marizmer decided to hide baby Rodolfo in the fridge and Injeto in the washing machine to give them the best protection against the destructive storm. She took cover in the house with her husband Rodolfo and eldest child and waited until it passed.
‘Once the weather calmed, they saw that their house had been severely damaged to the point that it’s still unlivable but they told me at least they were safe, unharmed and all together,’ said ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Alice Jefferson (UK).
The family had been living in a makeshift structure made out of debris, like hundreds of thousands of other people, when a SRT found them in Compostela Valley on 26 December, almost three weeks after Bopha struck.
‘Their home was stronger than the majority of other homes in eastern Mindanao as it was made out of concrete but they do not have the money at the moment to start rebuilding it,’ continued Alice.
Read more and donate here: PHILIPPINES
‘The biggest needs right now are emergency shelter… almost all the houses are destroyed,’ said David Carden, head of United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Philippines.
Almost a month has passed since Typhoon Bopha made landfall in eastern Mindanao and the ever-increasing number of displaced people is currently around one million.
ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs) have been on the ground distributing emergency shelter and other lifesaving supplies to families in need in the most affected areas including Compostela Valley.
‘There are thousands and thousands of people with nothing,’ said ShelterBox’s Operations Philippines In-Country Coordinator Alice Jefferson. ‘We have been working with the Government of Compostela Valley to find those families most in need. What’s more difficult though is finding suitable land to set the tents up on. It’s very hilly here, it’s constantly raining and flooding, and as there is so much debris, there’s little space.
Read more here: PHILIPPINES
ShelterBox’s response to the crisis in Syria has been postponed following a spate of violence and kidnappings in Lebanon’s capital Beirut that began on 16 August.
ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members Alice Jefferson (UK) and Phil Duloy (UK and USA) had been working with ministers in the Lebanese government to facilitate the importation of ShelterBoxes.
They had also been planning potential distributions to Syrian refugees with several international non-governmental organisations (INGOS), including Handicap International, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR); and a consortium of eight local NGOs operating in the central Bekaa Valley. The Response Team had submitted a proposal to Lebanon’s Council of Ministers through an influential contact on Wednesday afternoon.
Later that same afternoon the armed wing of the Muqdad clan made good on its promise to retaliate to the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) kidnapping of their fellow clansman, Hassan Muqdad, some time earlier.
Details are unclear but reports state that around 30 people were seized in the northern parts of the Bekaa Valley and in southern Beirut.
Read more here: SYRIA