Mindanao Earthquake – Veronica’s Story

 

In October 2019, three powerful earthquakes shook Mindanao Island in the Philippines, damaging and destroying buildings. Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes, staying in evacuation centres or with host families. Those who had been hit the hardest stayed in makeshift shelters and were not expected to return home for up to six months.

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Veronica lives at the very top of a mountainous barangay in Mindanao. Along with her family, she was one of the thousands of people affected by the earthquakes. Speaking to the ShelterBox team when they returned to Mindanao to do post-distribution monitoring in December 2019, Veronica said she is proud of where she lives. She added that it is very beautiful with two rivers flowing either side of her home and lots of colourful flowers surrounding it.

The team were unable to get to see her homesite as it was still unsafe for vehicles other than motorbikes to get up there. Fortunately, Veronica’s husband Rodolfo was able to go to up on his motorbike and capture some images of their home that had been rebuilt using ShelterBox tools and tarpaulin.

Veronica told the team she was in her home when the earthquake, which measured 6.6 magnitude, hit on the 29th of October at 9am. She first felt the shaking and then cement started to fall from the ceilings and from the walls. She instantly ran outside until the initial shaking stopped. Her priority was then to run to the school further down the hill to go and see how her youngest daughter was. “I was so scared not knowing how the earthquake had hit the school,” she said. “I ran as fast as I could to get there.”

The school had been severely damaged with parts of it collapsing. The teachers left to go home and see if their families were OK, and what might have happened to their homes.

“Many of us here thought that as Christmas was near, no more earthquakes would hit us,” said Veronica.

At the time of the earthquake Rodolfo was working on their farm. The farm was badly affected, and a large crack appeared through the land. Fortunately, he was able to return to the family unharmed.

“Our house was unsafe to live in,” Veronica explained. “Two walls had collapsed, and the aftershocks meant that cement kept falling from the ceiling.” After the earthquake, the only form of shelter the family had was one tarpaulin. To ensure the whole family was protected from the weather they had to borrow another tarpaulin from Veronica’s brother. This meant they were living in cramped conditions.

Two weeks after the earthquakes hit, the family received aid items from ShelterBox. This included a shelter kit with two tarpaulins, two solar lights, two blankets and a bag to put everything in. They used these items to build a new shelter close to their damaged home until it was safe to return.

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“We are so grateful for the ShelterBox tarpaulins as they are so much better than the ones we had,” said Veronica. “We feel that come rain or shine we are able to feel comfortable inside the home we have made with them and as a result we are now sleeping better.”

Despite the hot weather the tarpaulins keep her family cooler in the day. Veronica said that all the community members at the top of the barangay had used their aid items. Their community does have electricity, but they experience frequent black outs, so the solar lights are used a lot. In case of another earthquake, Veronica said she has prepared a grab bag for the family to take: “We used the bag to carry items back from the distribution, but now we store emergency clothing and other important items in it, just in case another earthquake happens, and we have to leave the area quickly.”

They are not too sure what the future holds for them as they cannot access the farm due to the risk of landslides. But now that they have somewhere to live, her husband is able to focus on looking for a temporary job until the farmland becomes safe or they find an alternative site.

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!

 

 

ShelterBox Australia Newsletter – March Round-up

The month of March saw the passing of two important milestones for ShelterBox. First was the one year anniversary of our historic Project Patnership with Rotary International. Rotary is an invaluable supporter of ShelterBox worldwide, providing much needed funding and essential help on the ground (as seen in recent deployments in Jordan and The Philippines and Russia). You can see more about the Project Partnership in the Youtube clip below.
March also saw the second anniversary of the Syrian Civil War. What started as a peaceful protest for democracy, descended into a bloody, protracted conflict, destroying over 2.6 million homes and forcing millions to flee to neighbouring countries. Shelterbox has been working in Iraq/Kurdistan, Jordan and Lebanon and continues to explore avenues to help those most in need. Your continued support allows us to respond quickly to disasters both natural and man-made.
This month’s quote comes from Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Staying together is success.”
Thanks for helping those families most in need.
Mike
Mike Greenslade SRT
Director/Communications Officer
ShelterBox Australia
NB. You are receiving this newsletter because you have either supported us in the past, signed up via the website or at an event. Should you wish not to receive future newsletters you can unsubscribe at the bottom of the page. Another great way of keeping up to date with what’s happeining with ShelterBox Australia is via our blog, at: https://shelterboxaustralia.wordpress.com
Deployments 
 MADAGASCAR – Floods
Cyclone Haruna caused extensive flooding in South West Madagascar in late February. An all-Australian ShelterBox Response Team, consisting of Peter Pearce and Anthony Keating flew to the disaster-prone African isle to assist those affected. Using stock pre-positioned in the capital, Antananarivo the team were able to respond quickly and distribute 130 boxes. Read more here:MADAGASCAR
 SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS
As the civil war in Syria passed it’s 2-year mark, the number of refugees registered with the UNHCR passed 1 million, with the real number of refugees likely to be twice that number. ShelterBox has been working in several areas to help those most in need. In Lebanon, SRTs (working through a network of 27 implimenting partners) have distributed 700 winterised boxes. 584 insulated tents have now been erected and are housing homeless Syrian families. A further 35 boxes have been distributed inJordan. ShelterBox continues to explore avenues to help more people. View a recent interview with ShelterBox on Channel 10 Late News here: 10 NEWS
 PHILIPPINES – Cyclone
The devastation caused by Typhoon Bopha was so great that finding space to erect relief tents was a huge problem for a succession of ShelterBox Response Teams. Continued bad weather also hampered relief efforts. Working with local Rotarians and in-country SRTs, ShelterBox has now managed to distribute 354 boxes and 760 tents. Distribution continues through Plan International and HelpAge.
 
 MYANMAR – Conflict
The Kachin conflict is one of multiple conflicts collectively referred to as the Burmese Civil War. Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and Myanmar Army restarted in June 2011 after a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down, and continued throughout 2012. The recent conflict has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and displaced an estimated 80,000. With the rainy season set to begin in May the situation for internally displaced persons (IDPs) could deteriorate. Due to the high security situation, ShelterBox is working with ACTED who will distribute ShelterBoxes to IDPs in Kachin State on ShelterBox’s behalf. The SRT has trained ACTED’s workers in setting up the tents.
 
                                              Fundraising
 
 SHELTERBOX EXPO SYDNEY
The Rotary Club of Darling Harbour held their annual ShelterBox Expo in Sydney’s Martin Place on 15th March. A great shopfront for ShelterBox, the event raised enough to sponsor 3 Boxes
 
 BLUESFEST- BYRON BAY
ShelterBox had a stand at Byron Bay Bluesfest for the second year running. The stall had hundreds of visitors over the 5 day festival, learning about disaster relief, donating money and charging their phones! Bluesfest 2013 has now raised enough to sponsor it’s very own ShelterBox
 
 LONGFORD HARVEST FESTIVAL – TASMANIA
Hard-working District Reps, Ian Routley and Bill Dobson were out again at the beginning of March promoting ShelterBox at the Longford Harvest Festival. There was great interest following our recent deployment to Tasmania and in the upcoming ShelterBox Challenge
 
Have you held a successful fundraising event or are you planning one? Please send me the details for inclusion in the newsletter and promotion on the Blog at:
 

ShelterBox Continues to Collaborate in Philippines

ShelterBox Response Team member Bjorn Andersson (SE) with beneficiary Analyn Cabiling as she receives her tent, Philippines, 2013.

ShelterBox Response Team member Bjorn Andersson (SE) with beneficiary Analyn Cabiling as she receives her tent, Philippines, 2013.

 

Almost four months have passed since Typhoon Bopha carved a path of destruction through the Philippines leaving thousands of families in desperate need of emergency shelter. 

An in-country ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) was mobilised immediately to assess the need. They found the worst affected areas to be on Mindanao Island in Compostela Valley and the more isolated coastal Davao Oriental province.

Trained Plan International team in Compostela Valley's New Bataan with SRT members Des O'Connell (UK) and Bill Woodard (US), Philippines, 2013.

Trained Plan International team in Compostela Valley’s New Bataan with SRT members Des O’Connell (UK) and Bill Woodard (US), Philippines, 2013.

 

ShelterBox has trained teams from Plan International in putting up disaster relief tents, enabling them to continue with distributions, bringing shelter, warmth and protection to hundreds of typhoon survivors like Analyn Cabiling, who was seven months pregnant when she lost her home in the storm.

‘Recovery’

‘When we met the Cabiling family, they had been living in an extremely small old hut with large holes in the roof, which did not keep out nightly rain storms,’ said SRT member Des O’Connell (UK). ‘Finding shelter was a huge concern for Analyn, her husband Raymond, and their two children both under seven years of age, as they needed to start buying materials to rebuild their flattened house. Therefore providing them with a tent has helped them make the next steps in their recovery.’

When the eldest son returned from school, he said: ‘Wow! Now we have a beautiful home. We are happy and we are so grateful to ShelterBox, Rotary and Plan International in providing us with support and shelter.’

Plan International continue to distribute vital ShelterBox aid to vulnerable families in hard-to-reach areas.

The huge scale of destruction caused delays in land clearance, as well as further flooding, which slowed shelter distributions. However, since the disaster, SRTs have been distributing much-needed emergency shelter to families in need, in partnership with aid agency Plan International.

‘We have worked with ShelterBox before and we know that ShelterBox do as they promote and responded to help the Philippines without any hesitation,’ said Plan International Coordinator Roy Soledad.

‘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

 

 

ShelterBox Helps Typhoon Survivors in Philippines

Jose and Protacia Ongcoy, a married couple in their late seventies who lost everything to Typhoon Bopha at the beginning of December in front of their new shelter, Philippines, January 2013.

Jose and Protacia Ongcoy, a married couple in their late seventies who lost everything to Typhoon Bopha at the beginning of December in front of their new shelter, Philippines, January 2013.

 

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

Challenges in the Field in Philippines

ShelterBox has been in the Philippines working with various partners to bring emergency shelter to families made homeless by recent Typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, which hit early December.

ShelterBox has been in the Philippines working with various partners to bring emergency shelter to families made homeless by recent Typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, which hit early December.

 

ShelterBox has been in the Philippines working with various partners to bring emergency shelter to families made homeless by recent Typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, which hit early December. 

The ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs) are facing various challenges in the field including land clearance and ongoing weather troubles. SRT member Max Hogg (UK) talks more about these issues from the island of Mindanao, where Bopha hit Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental Provinces wiping out infrastructure and agriculture:

SRTs are also working with other partner aid agencies on the ground to set up a camp for almost 300 families from Poo Island off Davao Oriental Province coast, which was completely wiped out after the storm.

Bopha Destroys Livelihoods in Philippines

Destruction left behind in Davao Oriental Province along the eastern coast after Super Typhoon Bopha struck at the beginning of December 2012.

Destruction left behind in Davao Oriental Province along the eastern coast after Super Typhoon Bopha struck at the beginning of December 2012.

 

As ShelterBox relief efforts continue in Compostela Valley on Mindanao island, Philippines, another Response Team has been assessing the need along the isolated picturesque eastern coastal regions of Cateel and Baganga. 

Typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, made landfall on the South Filipino island late at night on 4 December 2012. The eye of the storm struck the eastern coast causing widespread loss of life and destruction in Davao Oriental Province. In Baganga alone, 19,500 families lost their homes and 172 people lost their lives.

‘Never before have I seen such devastation caused by natural disaster,’ said ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Sharon Donald (UK) who has been working alongside Bruce Heller (US) in the region meeting the local people and assessing the need for emergency shelter.

Read more here: PHILIPPINES

Emergency Shelter ‘Biggest Need’ in Philippines

The first ShelterBox tent set up on 24 December 2012 in Compostela Valley at the Municipality of Monkayo in Township Banlag. The family will be able to rebuild their home whilst living in comfort and shelter.

The first ShelterBox tent set up on 24 December 2012 in Compostela Valley at the Municipality of Monkayo in Township Banlag. The family will be able to rebuild their home whilst living in comfort and shelter.

 

‘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

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