Devastation left behind by Super typhoon Bopha in Philippines, December 2012.
Flooding in the UK, a super typhoon in the Philippines and a cyclone in Fiji, ShelterBox continues to help families displaced by disaster all over the world this holiday season.
After a week of heavy rains the skies continued to pour down on already-saturated ground over the weekend in Cornwall, a county in southwest England, causing rivers to burst their banks flooding many towns and villages.
ShelterBox assisted the Emergency Services with rescue efforts by coordinating evacuations in Lostwithiel, where over 200 residents were told by police to evacuate their homes. Response Team members Joe Cannon (UK), James Edgerley (UK), Ray Filbey (UK) and Phil Duloy (UK) matched the displaced families with persons willing to provide rooms in their homes in the area.
‘We got the call for assistance from St. Austell Gospel Trust on Saturday and headed to the town with a few tents to use as a transit area with refreshments while families waited to be transported to either a rescue centre or another home,’ said Phil. ‘We also brought with us water carriers, cooking sets and ropes. With Lostwithiel being so close to ShelterBox headquarters, we were able to respond immediately.’
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Photograph by NASA – NASA’s Earth Observatory
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has arrived in Fiji to assess the need for emergency shelter following Cyclone Evan, the biggest cyclone to strike the Pacific nation in two decades that has left western parts of the main island Viti Levu the hardest hit.
To enable a rapid response to the disaster, the SRT members Owen Smith and Ross McKenzie are from New Zealand and were on standby to be flown out on the next available flight as soon as the storm passed over Fiji.
The category four storm with winds of over 200 kilometres per hour and heavy rains destroyed homes, caused flash floods and cut power. The Fiji times reported Lautoka, the nation’s second largest city, looking like a ‘war zone’.
Due to advanced government warnings, more than 8,000 people found safety during the cyclone by taking shelter across 137 evacuation centres, according to the Ministry of Information.
There are ShelterBoxes prepositioned in Fiji with Rotarians that the disaster relief charity worked with on its previous response last April to heavy flooding in the same area. ShelterBox will therefore be able to quickly bring shelter and dignity to displaced families in need.
‘We are very concerned by media reports of the destruction in Fiji caused by Cyclone Evan,’ said Owen before the SRT flew out. ‘We are well prepared to respond, however, and will be doing everything we can to deploy ShelterBoxes quickly and effectively.’
ShelterBox responded to a tsunami that hit Samoa in 2009.
Flattened homes, uprooted trees and flooded streets. This scene of destruction is being described in media reports about the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, where a powerful cyclone has just ripped through.
Winds of up to 165 kilometres per hour lashed down and waves of water exploded over river banks washing homes away, flinging cars into trees, cutting out power across the country and leaving the capital city Apia in ruins.
‘The priority really is to repair the damage to infrastructure, electricity lines and the buildings,’ said Samoan prime minister Tuilera Sailele Malielegaoi.
Cyclone Evan is set to bear down on Fiji next, where Fijian Prime Minister Voreque Bainimarama has warned his people to stay at home and restrict their movements:
‘Fellow Fijians, I cannot stress enough how serious this is, as every Fijian will be affected, but we must take preventative steps now,’ said Bainimarama.
The storm is predicted to be Category Four strength by the time it hits Fiji.
ShelterBox is mobilising a Response Team to assess the need in Samoa and stands ready to respond to Fiji, where ShelterBoxes are prepositioned for rapid responses to both nations.