Distributing Shelter Kits To Flood-Hit Families In Chile

Torrential floods caused massive damage in the Atacama region of Chile. (John Cordell/ShelterBox)

Torrential floods caused massive damage in the Atacama region of Chile. (John Cordell/ShelterBox)

ShelterBox is working in partnership with fellow aid agency Habitat for Humanity to distribute shelter kits to people whose homes have been severely damaged by flooding in the Atacama region of Chile.

This spring, the Atacama region of Chile, which is usually one of the driest places on Earth, received more than seven years’ worth of rain in just 24 hours, causing massive damage to homes, buildings and infrastructure.

When the flooding first took place, many people moved in with host families, but now that the waters have started to recede, the focus has shifted to repairing homes.

ShelterBox has therefore decided to send 1,000 shelter kits to the region, which cannot only be used to make temporary shelters, but contain ropes, tarpaulins and tools to help clear away debris and to make repairs on structures, such as waterproofing roofs.

The kits are being distributed by Habitat for Humanity, an organisation specialising in eliminating homelessness and housing issues in countries around the world, which has been working in Chile for the last 14 years. In addition, the Chilean Red Cross and the regional government will be helping to distribute shelter kits too.

ShelterBox response team member John Cordell, who was part of a team that carried out assessments on the need for shelter in Chile, explained the benefits of using shelter kits: ‘Our work with Habitat for Humanity in Chile to provide shelter kits to people after the flooding disaster is helping to bridge the transition from an emergency response to a more enduring shelter solution.’

ShelterBox is also partnering with Habitat for Humanity elsewhere in Chile following another natural disaster. In the south of the country, the Calbuco Volcano has erupted several times, causing flows of mud and debris to damage everything in their path, while ash clouds have travelled hundreds of miles, burying houses in as much as 10 inches of ash.

A further 500 shelter kits will be distributed to families whose houses have been damaged by the volcanic activity.

Need For Shelter As Floods And Pyroclastic Flows Hit Chile

Dramatic image of volcanic ash cloud in evening sky.

6,600 families have been evacuated following the eruption of the Calbuco volcano in Chile. Credit Andiseño Estudio.

A ShelterBox response team is currently en route to Chile, as the country is facing two separate natural disasters, leaving communities without homes and shelter from some of the most unpredictable displays of nature Chile has ever seen.
 
In the Atacama region of Chile, this usually arid area has suffered from intense rainfall, leading to rivers bursting their banks, flash flooding and landslides. The floods not only damaged infrastructure, but left more than 8,000 families with either damaged or totally destroyed homes.
More than a thousand miles away, in the state of Los Lagos, activity from the Calbuco volcano has resulted in the evacuation of 6,600 homes. The volcano erupted for the first time in 42 years on 22 April, dispersing a 10 mile high plume of ash into the air, along with other pyroclastic materials.
A 12 mile evacuation zone has been enforced around the Calbuco volcano as there are concerns that it could not only cause a great deal of destruction, but could collapse itself, causing a massive pyroclastic flow, which is a current of hot gas and rock that can travel downhill at speeds of 450 miles per hour destroying everything in its path.
Ayeaisa McIntyre, ShelterBox Operations Coordinator, explains how extraordinary these events are: ‘The response in Chile is quite unusual given that we are responding to two separate disasters at the same time. Not only is this unusual for ShelterBox, but the events themselves are historically unlikely.
‘The Atacama region, which is one of the driest places on earth, received the equivalent of seven years of rainfall in less than 24 hours. In Los Lagos, the area surrounding the Calbuco volcano, was evacuated prior to the first eruption in four decades. After the eruption on 22 April, people started returning to their ash-covered homes when two further eruptions took place on 24 and 30 April.’
The ShelterBox team, made up of John Cordell (US), Scott Culbertson (CAN) and Kevin Moforte (US), will be working with fellow aid organisation Habitat for Humanity and the Chilean Red Cross Society to provide shelter kits to 1,500 families whose homes have been destroyed or damaged by these events.
The shelter kits not only contain the materials to make waterproof temporary shelters, but to repair existing structures and to clear away rubble and debris too.
The team members and the shipment of 1,500 shelter kits are all due to arrive in the country later this week.

ShelterBox Responds To Typhoon Rammasun

Philippines 19 July 2014. A mother and her seven children seek shelter in the ruins of their house. (Toby Ash/ShelterBox).

Philippines 19 July 2014. A mother and her seven children seek shelter in the ruins of their house. (Toby Ash/ShelterBox).

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.

Philippines: Typhoon Bopha Four Months On

Homes destroyed by Typhoon Bopha, Mindanao island, Philippines, January 2013.

Homes destroyed by Typhoon Bopha, Mindanao island, Philippines, January 2013.

 

Typhoon Bopha was the strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit the Philippine island of Mindanao. Over 1,000 lives were lost and tens of thousands more lost their homes and possessions.
ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member John Cordell (US) returned to the broken communities four months after ShelterBox’s initial response to see how affected families were coping with the devastating situation.
ShelterBox brought hope and certainty to well over 1,000 families who had been left with nothing prior to the support from our donors worldwide. Thank you!

 

 

‘My Biggest Reward Came From the Filipino People’

SRT members Bill Woodard (left), Sonny Ongkiko (crouching), John Cordell (right) with Eric and Evelyn Nono and their five young children, Philippines, January 2013.

SRT members Bill Woodard (left), Sonny Ongkiko (crouching), John Cordell (right) with Eric and Evelyn Nono and their five young children, Philippines, January 2013.

Bill Woodard has just returned home to his wife and family in USA’s Washington state after deploying as a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member in cyclone-hit Philippines. Having completed the extensive SRT training in October 2012, this was his first deployment. Although he was able to put his training into practice and help families in need, his biggest reward came from the Filipino people themselves. 

‘Thanks to the leadership of Alice Jefferson, ShelterBox’s in-country coordinator, SRT member John Cordell (US) and those SRTs who proceeded me, much of the planning and hard work had been done prior to my arrival in the Philippines. My role was therefore to execute the plan.

‘John and SRT member Max Hogg (UK) saw to it that I got to put as much of my training in to practice as possible: cluster meetings, working tents through customs, the logistics of getting the tents to site, training teams to put tents up, and most importantly, evaluating families’ needs and helping put up their tents. By the time I left the Philippines I felt as though my ‘text book’ first deployment was productive and meaningful.

‘Friends’ 

‘But the real surprise and the greatest reward came from the Filipino people themselves. I left the Southeast Asian country feeling as though I was leaving friends behind; we shared so many common values, they were so open and friendly and in spite of all they had been through were still fun-loving.

Read more and donate here: PHILIPPINES

 

 

Help From Rotary in the Field in The Philippines

Volunteer Alfrancis Verdida (far left) with SRT member John Cordell (US) (far right) talking to a typhoon survivor, Mindanao, Philippines, December 2012.

Volunteer Alfrancis Verdida (far left) with SRT member John Cordell (US) (far right) talking to a typhoon survivor, Mindanao, Philippines, December 2012.

 

33-year-old Rotarian Alfrancis Verdida is from Iligan City’s Lanao del Norte in the Northern Region of Mindanao Island, Philippines. He is a nurse by profession but is currently helping ShelterBox assist families who have lost everything to devastating Typhoon Bopha. 

Alfrancis first heard about ShelterBox when Mindanao’s Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro were devastated last year by Typhoon Washi in December. His Rotary Club was involved in the emergency shelter response and he was sent as Illigan City’s representative to help ShelterBox set up tents. ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Abner Tayco (PH) trained him.

‘My sister-in-law and her two children were one of the tens of thousands of people affected by Washi,’ said Alfrancis. ‘She totally lost her home when logs and debris in raging overflowing floodwaters hit it. Many people lost their lives but my sister’s family was lucky. They decided to stay over my house that night because of the heavy rain, a decision that saved their lives.’

When deadly Bopha struck, Alfrancis saw on the ShelterBox Philippines website that SRTs were to be deployed to assess the situation on the ground.

‘I contacted SRT member Sonny Ongkiko (PH), rearranged my schedule and told him I was free to help out in any way I can to help deliver ShelterBoxes to affected families.

Read more and view a video of the destruction here: PHILIPPINES

ShelterBox Response Team in the Philippines Told, ” Bopha the Worst Storm the Area Has Ever Seen”

Destruction left behind by Typhoon Bopha in Compostela Valley, Philippines, December 2012.

Destruction left behind by Typhoon Bopha in Compostela Valley, Philippines, December 2012.

 

‘As we were driving I saw miles and miles of people lined up on both sides of the road holding cardboard signs asking for donations of anything like food or water, eyes desperate and scared. I have never seen anything like it on previous deployments.’ 

ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member John Cordell (US) describes his journey to Compostela Valley in Davao Oriental province, Philippines, one of the worst hit areas by super Typhoon Bopha on the island of Mindanao. He is part of a three-person team who has been assessing the need in the region.

Almost a quarter of the 4.1 million people affected by the destructive storm are in Compostela Valley, also known as Camval, with ninety per cent of the 7,200 totally destroyed homes being here. Out of the 800 people still missing, 500 are in Camval. Buildings have been washed away or buried by flash floods and mudslides. Food and water is scarce.

‘Worse storm ever’ 

‘We have been told that Bopha is the worst storm this area has ever seen,’ said John.

ShelterBox has aid pre-positioned in the Philippines (this is our 12th deployment to the disaster-prone country). SRT’s from ShelterBox Philippines responded immediately.

Read more here: PHILIPPINES

ShelterBox in Sahel: Working Partnerships in Niger and Mali

Representatives from various aid agencies that ShelterBox has been working with on deployment in Niger at a tent demonstration class led by the Response Team, September, 2012.

Representatives from various aid agencies that ShelterBox has been working with on deployment in Niger at a tent demonstration class led by the Response Team, September, 2012.

 

Various aid agencies working with ShelterBox in Niger in its response to the recent flooding, food insecurity and conflict have been undertaking tent training led by one of the disaster relief charity’s Response Teams. 

Representatives from Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) International, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), Red Cross, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), as well as the Niger Civil Protection and Fire Brigade, attended a tent demonstration class with ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members John Cordell (US) and Laura Jepson (UK) last weekend.

‘It was a great opportunity for some of the other organisations we have been liaising with to see ShelterBox disaster relief tents first hand,’ said Laura. ‘It was also a fantastic opportunity to train a team of people in preparation for upcoming distributions as ensuring tents are set up correctly is the key to their longevity.’

ShelterBox has been in Niger responding to numerous disasters including flooding that have affected an estimated 400,000 people, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The floods have also destroyed hundreds of hectares of rice fields in the country, which is already facing a food crisis along with others in the Sahel region of West Africa including Mali.

Read more here: SAHEL

Flood Survivors ‘Sleep Easily Now’ in Niger

ShelterBox worked with WAHA International to set up this camp in Kollo District for families made homless by recent flooding, Niger, September 2012.

ShelterBox worked with WAHA International to set up this camp in Kollo District for families made homless by recent flooding, Niger, September 2012.

 

We are very happy as the tent is very comfortable and we can sleep easily now,’ said Jama Salle to ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members Laura Jepson (UK) and John Cordell (US) in Niger. 

Jama was forced to move from her home. She was living with her husband and four children in Gallay Keina, a village in Kollo District about 64 kilometres from the capital Niamey. They were one of many families ordered to move by the Prefecture of Kollo District, as he knew that the village was at risk when heavy rains started a few weeks ago. Subsequently, there were no injuries during the flooding and families were able to take many of their belongings with them. Jama and her family along with other families now live in ShelterBox disaster relief tents at a camp just up the hill from their village.

Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) International set up the camp using 82 ShelterBox tents, bringing shelter and dignity to nearly 450 flood survivors.

Read more here: NIGER