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.

SB_Philippines_Veronica_CaseStudy_2019_01

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.

SB_Philippines_Veronica_CaseStudy_2019_03

“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.

ShelterBox eNewsletter March 2020

All of our lives are being affected by Covid-19 in some way, but those living in refugee camps or in makeshift settlements are particularly vulnerable.

We live in strange and challenging times. The Covid-19 outbreak is affecting everyone to some degree. Rightly, our priority is the health of our staff, volunteers and supporters. We encourage everyone to follow directives from government sources, stay safe and healthy.

Here in Australia, we are lucky: we are well-resourced and have a world-class health system; we are able to self-quarantine at home and care for ourselves and each other. But for people who are already homeless due to conflict or disaster and no access to healthcare, Corona virus is a new and deadly threat.

How can we help? Tents and shelter are now more important than ever to help people isolate themselves when they have lost their homes and help to limit the spread of Coronavirus. ShelterBox remains committed to reaching the most remote communities and to support them to get through the current outbreak.

Much of our protracted work is largely unaffected in the short-term: our work continues in Syria and Somaliland and upcoming projects in Cameroon and Ethiopia remain on course. Travel restrictions may affect our ability to respond to sudden-onset disasters, but we have aid strategically pre-positioned and our deployable roles are set-up to work remotely.

So, challenging times ahead; but as a disaster relief agency, we are determined to maintain and protect our ability to respond.

This month’s quote comes from Jimi Hendrix, “”Before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.”

Many thanks for your support

Mike Greenslade

CEO ShelterBox Australia

0459 959 501

mike.greenslade@shelterbox.org.au

 

Philippines – Typhoon Kammuri

A response team member demonstrates how to use a Luminaid solar light.

In early December Typhoon Kammuri, known locally as Typhoon Tisoy, ripped through the Philippines and many people across Northern Samar were severely affected. Coastal communities were hit the most and beaches were covered in the debris of destroyed homes. Electricity was wiped out, roads washed away and scores of fishing boats, the main source of livelihoods, were smashed to pieces.

Working through our Philippines office and local Rotary clubs, we supported over 2,500 families whose homes were either damaged or totally destroyed. NSW-based Response Team volunteer, Anthony Keating has recently returned from Northern Samar as part of a Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEAL) team.

The team undertook post-distribution monitoring activities, including surveys and conducting focus group discussions with communities who received a ShelterBox aid package. They were also able to evaluate the cash element of the project with communities who received a cash component.​

Unfortunately, due to restrictions introduced by the Philippines due to Coronavirus, the team were unable to visit some of the communities where they had planned to undertake PDM activities. Due to this, the team departed early before areas of the Philippines entered a lock down period.​

Somaliland – Drought

Ongoing drought and conflict have forced communities to move increasingly large distances to find fresh food for their animals, creating an estimated 2.6million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The first phase of distributions to 1,200 households is now complete. A second phase is planned to support around 540 households, with the aid for the second phase currently in transit.​

A team recently deployed to Somaliland to review the response and consider the changing context with our project partner ActionAid, as well as with the government and other humanitarian agencies. The team also joined a distribution of ShelterBox aid with the ActionAid team.​

Syria – Conflict

The ongoing civil war in Syria has left over 13 million people in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance. In 2020, there has been renewed air-strikes and artillery incursions focused on the last rebel stronghold, Idlib. This has resulted in additional mass displacement of civilians fleeing from the violence in Idlib. A ceasefire has been in place since early March, which is currently still holding.​ Since 1st Dec 2019, it is reported that 950,000 people have been displaced.​

ShelterBox has helped over 50,000 families fleeing the conflict and plans are well underway to support a further 4,233 households. Work will continue with our partners, Relief Aid and Bahar Organisation.

Safiya’s Story

We lost our livestock”, said 40-year-old Safiya as she sits next to her temporary house. Speaking to ActionAid, ShelterBox’s implementing partner in Somaliland, she said she had to carry their limp bodies from her home out to a field every time they passed away. The harshest drought to hit the Horn of Africa in two decades has killed off all of her sheep and goats. “Even our donkeys have died”, said Safiya.

Dharyaalay village in the eastern part of the Togdheer region of Somaliland, where Safiya had lived for the past 20 years, suffered from the most extreme drought in recent history. The drought resulted in hundreds of thousands of vulnerable rural communities in Somaliland losing their livelihoods.

We’ve had droughts there in the past, but I don’t remember one as bad as the one that has forced me to become displaced”, said Safiya as she pointed towards her temporary house.

Safiya is living with hundreds of families in a camp for internally displaced people. She said they all agreed that they are used to seeing a shortage or lack of rain, but insist that they have never experienced one as hostile as the one that has killed their livestock and forced them leave their homes.

We have no proper shelter. Until only recently have we been able to build a temporary house out of cartons and plastic bags”, she said.

Safiya has nine children, five daughters and four boys. They find it difficult to sleep in their current shelter. They either sleep outside under the stars, or together inside with no comfort or privacy.

I have no choice, it’s me alone who is the head of the house and takes care of the children”. Her husband passed away four years before, but she gets some help from her relatives. With this help she manages to get the basic necessities of life including water and food. “Sometimes we don’t get enough money to buy batteries for the small torch we use for lighting”, said Safiya.

We had two blankets only and we used to share them. Every night there were disputes as everyone needed a blanket to keep them warm. At times, I did not sleep day and night as my house was not protecting me from the cold and the two blankets were being used by my children. I used to worry whenever the sky collects clouds fearing the rain would smash my temporary house.”

In August 2019, Safiya collected a ShelterBox which contained two tarpaulins, rope, solar lights, mosquito nets, five blankets, a water filter and a kitchen set. Upon collecting the aid item, she said:

This has helped my family a lot in getting light, giving enough blankets, and preventing security risks. Now I don’t have to worry as everyone has a blanket, the whole family can gather in one place and chat each with the help of the solar lights, thank you to those who donated this important kit.”

 

Support families affected by disaster and crisis. Please ………..

EFT: Bendigo Bank: ShelterBox Australia: BSB 633 000: Account no. 166 780 163 (please email sbaoffice@shelterbox.org.au to notify us of your donation and receive your tax receipt).

Cheques can be mailed to: ShelterBox Australia, PO Box 254, Parramatta, NSW, 2124All donations above $2 are fully tax-deductible.

 

 

ShelterBox and Rotary celebrate the power of partnership

Emergency shelter charity ShelterBox is celebrating signing up for another 3 years as Rotary International’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief. For almost 20 years, this unique humanitarian alliance has supported families with a place to call home after disaster.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelters and other essential items to support families who have lost their homes in disaster. Rotary is a global network whose members take action to make a lasting difference in their communities – and worldwide.

Working with Rotary in the Philippines

What began as a local connection with one Cornish Rotary Club has led to an international movement that’s has responded to over 280 disasters in 95+ countries.

First adopted as a millennium project by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in 2000, the support of Rotary members and clubs around the world saw ShelterBox become Rotary’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief in 2012. Since then, the partnership has helped transform ShelterBox into an internationally recognised disaster relief charity, supporting families with emergency shelter after disaster.

ShelterBox and Rotary in the Philippines

The partnership extends far beyond financial support. Around 1,000 Rotary members are involved in ShelterBox as volunteers, staff or response team members. And clubs worldwide offer valuable, practical assistance to help ShelterBox reach more families fleeing disaster or conflict.

This has recently included support for families in Malawi flooded from their homes by Cyclone Idai and communities in Lombok devastated by the 2018 earthquake and tsunami (quotes and details at the end of this release).

Caroline White, interim Chief Executive at ShelterBox, said: ‘Whenever disaster strikes, Rotary is beside us. From the earliest planning stages to final evaluations, Rotary members help ShelterBox make community contacts, organise logistics, and reach disaster-affected families in remote areas who might otherwise go without.

‘This partnership has helped ShelterBox become who we are today. Our global network of 17 ShelterBox affiliates, who raise funds and awareness worldwide, evolved from Rotary relationships.’

At the Rotary International Convention, Toronto 2017

Speaking about the partnership renewal, General Secretary of Rotary International John Hewko said:

ShelterBox has been Rotary’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief since 2012, and we are excited to renew the partnership for another three years.

Through this project partnership, Rotary members around the globe can collaborate with ShelterBox to support communities in desperate need of emergency temporary shelter and vital supplies following natural disasters. Additionally, Rotary and ShelterBox will continue to expand cooperation efforts through preparedness training and stockpiles of prepositioned aide in disaster-prone regions.’

Rotary club presidents around the world have also commented:

Ace Robin, President of the Mataram Rotary Club, Indonesia, was caught up in the deadly earthquakes that hit Lombok in 2018. Her home survived, but many around her were destroyed. Through an agreement with the government-led response, Ace’s club was central to bringing ShelterBox aid to Indonesia.

Thanks to their support, vulnerable members of the community received vital emergency shelter, including families with elderly relatives, pregnant women or new mothers.

Ace said: ‘Working with ShelterBox taught us a lot – they showed us how to build shelter and select families to help. It also gave us a chance to show what Rotary is to local people.’

Lombok 2018

After floods triggered by Cyclone Idai left tens of thousands homeless in Malawi this March, Rotary members connected ShelterBox with communities in the Blantyre region, helping them understand local needs and culture. Members helped deliver emergency shelter to almost 2,000 families. And ShelterBox supported the Rotary Club of Limbe to join the wider disaster response, enabling the club to deliver food to communities whose entire crops had been destroyed by the floods.

Rotary Club of Limbe President Eric Chinkanda said: ‘It was a great experience to work with ShelterBox. We have not only walked a mile in reaching out to the many Malawians who faced hardship, but we restored confidence in the displaced people that all was not lost!

ShelterBoxes collected by beneficiaries. The delivery lorry can be seen in the back ground.

James Kingston, Club President of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, in Cornwall, said: ‘The members of Helston-Lizard Rotary are delighted that Rotary International continues to recognise ShelterBox.

I joined the club a few months before the Millennium Project began, and I’m so pleased we’re still involved. It has been wonderful to see the charity grow into an internationally recognised, professional disaster relief organisation.’

Last year ShelterBox Australia received support from 279 Rotary Clubs throughout Australia

THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP: SHELTERBOX AND ROTARY EXTENDING OUR PARTNERSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

ShelterBox and Rotary International are Project Partners in Disaster Relief. By working together, we are ensuring that no family is left without shelter after disaster. Not only do Rotary and Rotaract clubs around the world support ShelterBox financially, but on many of ShelterBox’s deployments local Rotarians, Rotaractors and Response Teams work closely together at an operational level. Rotarians often have great connections with communities and authorities that can help Response Teams understand the situation and respond better together.

Recently, in the Philippines, ShelterBox and Rotary have taken this partnership to the next level. ShelterBox has responded in the Philippines on twenty-five separate occasions. We are always looking for ways to innovate and improve our responses. One way to innovate our responses in the Philippines was to set up ShelterBox Operations Philippines as an in-country organization with aid stored locally so that we can respond more effectively.

Dave Ray, Horizon’s Lead at ShelterBox said: “Rotary has been involved in the creation of the new agency in the Philippines since way before its actual invention. We have worked with Rotary in all of our responses in the past in the Philippines and so it is a very natural thing for us to go to Rotary and to ask for their advice when we were beginning the process.”

ShelterBox Operations Philippines, a locally registered ShelterBox office was set up with a plan to create a network of local Rotarian Coordinators. In this way, when a disaster hits in the Philippines our response can begin almost immediately.

When Tropical Storm Urduja hit the Philippines it caused flash flooding, landslides and destruction. The Rotary Club of Biliran Island started their response shortly after the storm passed providing food, water, and health kits. They were quickly in contact with the Local Coordinators who “coordinated with HQ Operations and the in-country Response team, who then started the ShelterBox Operations Philippines response”.

The Club also began planning for a Village Project, which would give transitional housing to sixty families. Dindin Morillo, Past President of the Rotary Club of Biliran Island said:

“Although we had already identified the next phase of the response for transitional shelter solutions, ShelterBox’s timely arrival provided emergency shelters and rebuilding tools which we recognized as an immediate solution. Without ShelterBox it would have taken time to find interim shelter solutions.”

As families were sleeping in crowded schools and public buildings, without adequate space, privacy or supplies, having immediate emergency shelter was very important. Fifty-seven families were provided with ShelterBox tents as well as blankets, mosquito nets, solar lights, kitchen sets, tool kits, water carriers and more.

Our Oase tents are specifically designed for use in the Tropics

A further nine-hundred families received ShelterKits to start rebuilding their homes as well as blankets, solar lights, mosquito nets, and water carriers. The Rotary Club of Biliran Island was instrumental in the distribution of this vital aid, as their local knowledge insured ShelterBox could reach the most remote and most vulnerable families.

Enisa with her solar lights

Greg Pastor is the President of the Rotary Club of Biliran Island. Of the partnership between ShelterBox and the Rotary Club of Biliran Island, Greg said:

“ShelterBox’s response to Tropical Storm Urduja sets the bar on the level of relief operations and assistance for affected families. The kind of assistance ShelterBox gave to the affected families prepares us to plan and implement the Rotary Village Project as continuing support for these families. Because of honest and genuine service, ShelterBox and Rotary were able to deliver effective and swift assistance to affected families.”

This response was made more effective because ShelterBox Operations Philippines was in place, so aid was already stored in the Philippines, and we were able to start the response immediately. Dindin Morillo said: “ShelterBox extended help that meets the needs of the people. We Rotarians, especially those on Biliran Island have local knowledge of whom to help, including who to talk to in order to bring the help in a timely manner. Thus, rather than being sucked into bureaucratic processes, working together expedited the help and we are very thankful.”

Dindin Morillo, Anna Dixie, Greg Pastor and Jane Diu at the Almeria Tent Site

Whilst this alone is a great example of how effective the partnership between ShelterBox and Rotary can be, responding immediately to disasters with high quality emergency shelter aid, on this response, we were able to take the partnership one step further.

The Village Project run by the Rotary Club of Biliran Island involved legally procuring land, construction of sixty transitional shelters, hands on training, and legal ownership documentation for families receiving the homes. Families were provided with technical training through TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) to build their homes. In this way, not only will they have a safe place to live, but they also will have accredited training and a certificate which can help them gain employment in construction.

Workers building the Almeria transitional homes which they will live in. 

The Rotary Club of Biliran Island helped secure the land, and provided the funding for the materials. ShelterBox was able to provide the roofing sheets for one of the Rotary Village sites, further strengthening our partnership while helping families recover.

Jane Diu, Dindin Morillo and Stephanie Christensen at the Almeria Rotary Village Site

 

Disaster recovery is a process. When ShelterBox and Rotary work together after disasters, having ShelterBox’s technical expertise, and Rotary’s community connections and knowledge side by side, mean that families are given the best tools and support that they need through each step of the process to recover and rebuild.

ShelterBox is currently busy in the Philippines once again, this time responding to Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Luzon.

 

ShelterBox is a registered charity independent of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. ShelterBox and Rotary are project partners in disaster relief.

 

Newsletter – September 18

 

eNewsletter September 2018

ShelterBox is proud to be a Project Partner of Rotary International

A devastating super typhoon is due to hit the Luzon district of the Phiippines today

As I write this evening, a horrendously powerful typhoon is heading toward the Philippines. By the time you read this, the people of Luzon region will be experiencing the terrible destructive power of the strongest storms to make landfall this year.

Our Operations department has been monitoring the storm and has a Response Team mobilised and on standby. They have reached out to Rotary contacts in the region to understand how we can help quickly. We have enough shelter aid stored locally in the Philippines to help 2,000 families, but this is unlikely to be enough.

I have been warmed by the generous response to our Lombok Appeal and would like to thank all those that have given recently; but the fact remains that, with Response Teams already active in seven countries, Typhoon Mangkhut is going to leave is stretched.

This newsletter contains some great success stories, tales of hope and strength that wouldn’t be possible without the support of people like you. If you’re not in a position to give today, please tell your friends about ShelterBox, share our posts on Facebook and Instagram and share our vision of a world where no family is left without shelter following disaster.

This month’s quote comes from Miguel de Cervantes, “Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.

Many thanks for your support

Mike

Mike Greenslade, CEO ShelterBox Australia

Deployment News

 

Lombok – Earthquake

The disaster response in Lombok is being led by the Indonesian Government. We currently have a team of four in Lombok, including Australian volunteer and Rotoractor, Katelyn Winkworth. The team is working in partnership with local Rotary clubs, helping to run training sessions and assisting with delivering aid to families. So far, together with those local Rotary groups, we have helped 449 families across north and west Lombok, in over 80 dusans (communities). We are hoping to help many more families over the coming weeks. Maternity and postnatal clinics in west Lombok have also received tents. 

Read more here: https://www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au/lombok-earthquake/

Kenya – Floods

ShelterBox has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the Kenyan Red Cross but strict government restrictions on the importation of single use plastics led to a delay in the importation of ShelterBox aid. Having repacked aid in Belgium and Dubai, a Response Team is now overseeing the importation and distribution of 2000 ShelterKits. To date 648 households have received aid in Kalifi. More distributions are due to take place in Tana River once the aid arrives.

Ethiopia – Displacement

Inter-community violence in Southern Ethiopia has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. The influx of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in some areas has nearly doubled population. Prior to the new displacement, this area was already one of the most densely populated parts of the country. Humanitarian needs are huge. Thousands of people are displaced into crowded and unsuitable collective centres in public buildings. Other people are sleeping outside, with little or no protection from the weather.​ Our team has been coordinating with International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to compile beneficiary lists for two proposed areas. They are speaking with community leaders, in those areas, to bring together plans for how to distribute the aid.

ShelterBox continues to work in Cameroon, Chad, Iraq, Niger, Nigeria, Somaliland and Syria. 


Support the ‘ShelterBox Solution’ and help families who have lost everything to disaster. Please ………..

EFT: Westpac: ShelterBox Australia: BSB 032 189: Account no. 230 147 (please email sbaoffice@shelterbox.org.au to notify us of your donation and receive your tax receipt).

Cheques can be mailed to: ShelterBox Australia, PO Box 254, Parramatta, NSW, 2124

All donations above $2 are fully tax-deductible

Larapinta Trek 2019

 

 Go the extra mile for disaster relief! Join ShelterBox Australia CEO, Mike Greenslade on the adventure of a lifetime and trek the stunning Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. The Larapinta Trail is regarded as one of Australia’s premier walking tracks. From the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to the peak of Mount Sonder, the trail stretches 223 kilometres along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Over 5 days of trekking, you will cover 60 kilometres of this iconic track.

https://inspiredadventures.com.au/events/sba_larapinta_2019/

Shine for ShelterBox

Host a dinner party for people who need light in their lives!

When disasters strike and power lines go down, families are left vulnerable, wrenched away from comfort and light.

ShelterBox provides essential relief to people who have lost everything. Every ShelterBox we send includes solar lights that can brighten lives in the darkest hour.

It’s easy to help. Just request a free Shine for ShelterBox fundraising kit and we’ll post one to you in time to plan your event.

As you dine, you’ll be raising money to provide light and emergency shelter for families who need it most.

Click here to find out more: https://www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au/shine-for-shelterbox/

Earn Velocity Points on your donation with Points 4 Purpose

                           

In partnership with Everyday Hero and Imagine Corporation, we are thrilled to present Points 4 Purpose.

ShelterBox Australia supporters can earn 1 Velocity point for every dollar donated. All donations are tax-deductible too!

To take advantage of this exciting initiative, simply go to the Points4Purpose page on the Velocity eStore and choose ShelterBox Australia when they make your donation. 

 


 

 
 

 

                                                    
 

 

 

ShelterBox establishes its first operations base outside the UK in time for typhoons in Philippines

New Philippines base in the path of Typhoon Alley has ‘already improved our ability to respond to this season’s storms’

Disaster relief agency ShelterBox set up its new operations base in the Philippines in time for tropical storms Kai Tak and Tembin.

A team from ShelterBox has been working with the Philippines Government and the Rotary Club of Biliran Island, focusing on the municipalities of Caibiran, Almeria, Naval and Biliran which suffered serious flooding, mudslides and loss of homes and livelihoods when two months of rainfall fell within two days. ShelterBox aid distributions have been carried out on the island of Biliran, providing families with vital weather-resilient tents, shelter kits for waterproofing damaged properties, and other desperately needed items including solar lights, water carriers, blankets and mosquito nets.

ShelterBox and Rotary worked together to help those affected by Tropical Storms Kai Tak and Tembin

The more than 7,000 islands of the Philippines sit right in the firing line of one of the world’s most deadly storm systems, known by meteorologists as ‘Typhoon Alley’. On average, ShelterBox responds to disasters here around twice a year and it is intended that the new office ‘ShelterBox Operations Philippines’ sited at Cebu, the first of its kind for the UK-based organisation, will help get vital emergency shelter to vulnerable families even more quickly.

Dave Ray, an experienced member of the UK-based Operations team, has recently returned from Biliran Island, and says, ‘Since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 the Philippine Government has strongly favoured agencies that are registered and sited in the Philippines, as well as those sourcing their aid from within the country. ShelterBox Operations Philippines, with its aid supplies for 1,000 to 2,000 families, has already improved our ability to respond to this season’s storms, and when it is fully staffed and operational later this year its local expertise will make us even more efficient and effective.’

‘Of course, it was always likely we would be called into action before our new office was fully open. The pre-positioned aid items and local contacts were already there, and our response team was on the ground with Rotary partners able to act faster because of our new in-country status. A new Philippines project Office Development Manager has also joined the organisation recently.’

Shelterbox camp at Biliran

ShelterBox is a UK-based international disaster relief charity specialising in emergency shelter.,Since its start in 2000 it has helped more than 1.1 million people worldwide rebuild their lives, and it has fundraising affiliates cross the world. However, whilst ShelterBox pre-positions aid in storage hubs such as Panama, Dubai and Malaysia, all operational activity including deploying aid and volunteers to disasters zones has always been coordinated from the UK headquarters in Truro.

ShelterBox has responded to catastrophes in the Philippines more frequently than to any other country in the world – 24 times in the last 13 years. Located on the island of Cebu, one of the areas worst hit by the record-breaking Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, ShelterBox Operations Philippines already stores enough shelter items to help around 2,000 families, with capacity for far more in the future.

ShelterBox Chief Executive, Chris Warham says,‘This is a first for ShelterBox, and a huge achievement. It shows ShelterBox’s flexible and agile model at work. We have assessed and understood the situation of some of the most vulnerable communities in the world, and come up with a different approach to make sure we are best placed to help quickly whenever disaster strikes. As a charity with limited resources, having teams and aid ready where and when they are needed will be more efficient, which is also an absolute priority for us.’

Aid is deployed by any means necessary. “Whatever it takes”

ShelterBox Operations Philippines was created by working closely with local Rotary groups. ShelterBox is Rotary International’s official Project Partner in disaster relief, and together they form one of the world’s most effective humanitarian collaborations, with many Rotarians around the world volunteering and raising money for ShelterBox. The fully trained team for the new base will be in position soon, a new arm of the HQ Operations staff in the UK.

Meteorologists refer to the West Pacific as ‘Typhoon Alley’ with good reason. Tropical storms gather out at sea with almost no landfall to slow them down before they hit South East Asia. Between 2000 and 2014, 41 super typhoons were recorded there. That’s almost four times as many as are generated in the Atlantic.

Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, the deadliest typhoon on record killing 6,300 people, triggered major changes in how the Philippines responds to its constant barrage of tropical storms. The Philippine Government now requests international assistance less often, limiting tax-free importing. They also now strongly favour agencies that are registered and sited in the Philippines, as well as those locating their aid from within the country.

You can support those affected by disaster by donating here: ShelterBox Australia

Most powerful typhoon since Haiyan wreaks havoc across Taiwan and coastal China

 

satellite image of Typhoon Meranti

Image © EUMETSAT

China and Taiwan are counting the cost of Super-Typhoon Meranti, the most powerful storm to make landfall in SE Asia since deadly Haiyan in 2013, and the strongest so far anywhere in the world this year

The typhoon season got off to a violent start in the last 24 hours as a category five typhoon – the highest rating – caused damage and evacuation across three countries in South East Asia. Super-typhoon Maranti made landfall on the China coast around Fujian Province earlier today, having already tracked across small Philippine islands in the Luzon Strait, and caused major blackouts and structural damage in Taiwan.

Maranti has hit China during a three day festival and public holiday, flooding streets, crushing cars, and forcing mass evacuations from homes and harbours in the path of the storm.

It is the strongest typhoon to hit that part of China since 1949, with winds of up to 230 miles per hour. Although wind speeds lessened after landfall, and it has since been downgraded to a category 2, they were strong enough to knock down trees and smash windows. A bizarre image was of a giant inflated moon sculpture careering down Xiamen’s city streets, dislodged from part of a display marking the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The powerful storm first brushed southern Taiwan, killing one person and injuring 44. Almost a million homes lost power, and half a million had water supply problems. Hundreds of thousands of buildings are in need of repair on Taiwan. Forewarning of the typhoon caused tens of thousands of people to be evacuated, and fishing fleets to be called back to port.

Although the Philippines avoided most of the storm, there are fears for those on some small inhabited islands in the Luzon Strait, including 3000 who live on Itbayat. It is not known yet how well they were able to either evacuate or shelter.

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox has been monitoring Meranti’s course over recent days. ShelterBox has years of experience in assisting Philippine communities during the annual hurricane seasons, and was a major aid player following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which killed 6,300.

Alice Jefferson, from ShelterBox’s Operations team in Cornwall, UK says, ‘Meranti signals the start of a season which sees powerful storms brewing out in the Pacific, and tracking across various parts of SE Asia, particularly the hundreds of Philippine islands. For most areas Meranti came with sufficient warning for preparations to be made, but nonetheless there has been widespread damage, distress and injury.’

‘ShelterBox is standing by to see whether any Philippine islanders need our assistance, and whether their Government calls for aid. Taiwan and China have well-developed emergency provision, so it is unlikely the international community would be called to assist.’

Reinforcing Family Foundations In The Philippines

images of smiling Filipino children

Children from the Capangpangan family in the village of Binay, Philippines.

 

Typhoon Melor tore through the Philippines last December, leaving 14,400 families with damaged or destroyed houses – houses that were no longer fit to live in. However, your support has helped us provide the vital tools needed to rebuild homes and repair communities.

One of those homes belonged to the Capangpangan family in the village of Binay. Robert and Jennibeth Capangpangan have eight children aged between four and 15. We recently returned to the Philippines to see how the family are recovering after the typhoon.

When the typhoon first passed over their village, the family sought shelter in their house made of coconut tree trunks covered in coconut leaves. Once the winds gained full strength, the house began to shake and the family had no choice but to flee to the nearby church

The family’s possessions were lost; all that remained were a few floorboards

Under the strain of the typhoon, the house began to fall apart and the foundations collapsed. The family’s possessions were lost; all that remained were a few floorboards.

They not only lost their home and belongings, but their income too. Robert was a coconut farmer, but with the majority of coconut trees lost in the typhoon, his livelihood has gone. As a result, his wife Jennibeth has had to leave the family to work in the capital Manila.

When the winds died down, the family returned to their home and Robert tried to construct some new walls out of coconut leaves and tarpaulins provided by the local authorities. The shelter held, but it didn’t feel safe and secure enough for the family.

However, at the start of January, Robert received a shelter kit from ShelterBox, containing corrugated iron sheeting and a range of hardwearing tools. The kit enabled the family to start rebuilding their home.

Rebuilding the family home helped us get our lives back to some sort of normality

Melor
Robert said: ‘The kit means everything to us. I’ve lost my livelihood and my income, so without this kit, I wouldn’t have been able to rebuild my family’s home.’

The materials in the kit meant that Robert could start rebuilding a stronger home that was more resilient than the previous house. They were able to reinforce the foundations and build a much sturdier roof.

Robert added: ‘Rebuilding the family home helped us get our lives back to some sort of normality. After the typhoon hit, the children were ill, but now we have a proper home again, they are well and back in school.‘

In total, your support has enabled us to distribute 900 shelter kits to help people rebuild their homes again.

ShelterBox Monitors Typhoon Koppu In The Philippines

Response Team volunteer Harry Roberts with a ShelterBox relief tent in San Roca, Albay, Philippines August 2014.

Response Team volunteer Harry Roberts with a ShelterBox relief tent in San Roca, Albay, Philippines August 2014.

 

ShelterBox is standing by to help the islanders of Luzon in the Philippines, as 220 kmph winds and coastal surges have displaced an estimated 20,000 people on the country’s main island

In the largest displacement of people since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, as many as 20,000 are thought to have fled their homes in the Philippines.

Typhoon Koppu hit in the early hours of Sunday morning. Homes have been flattened, power lines brought down, and 12 foot sea surges have threatened coastal communities. But now it is heavy and continuous rain that is the main concern.

Koppu, also known as Lando, is up to 650 kilometres wide. The very slow-moving typhoon made landfall near the town of Casiguran on the island of Luzon. Luzon is the main administrational island, home to half the population of the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines. Meteorologists predict at least a further three days of torrential rain, maybe up to a metre, which brings the possibly of landslides and flash floods. The north of the island is mountainous, so upland communities are being affected by rivers in spate.

Only two casualties have been reported so far, one a teenage boy who died when a tree toppled onto houses in the capital Manila. The Philippine Government had advance notice of Koppu’s approach, and around 7,000 people were evacuated. President Benigno Aquino made a televised warning, the first time he has done so since super-typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300.

Those in the worst hit areas may need to find their own shelter, food and water for up to 72 hours until the typhoon passes over. There will be transport challenges for aid agencies until the torrential rain ceases. Although soldiers are at work clearing main roads of debris, power and communications remain damaged over large areas, and flights, ferries and public transport are interrupted.

ShelterBox responded to Haiyan in 2013, and continued to help throughout 2014 and into this year. As well as providing emergency shelter and reaching remote communities, the charity also worked in partnership with other agencies to provide 1,700 transitional shelters made largely from locally sourced materials, designed to better withstand the Philippines’ stormy climate.

ShelterBox has aid stored at key transport hubs across SE Asia, Australia and the Gulf, which could be mobilised if required. Its Operations HQ at Helston in Cornwall has response teams ready to deploy once the storm has subsided if help is requested by the Philippine Government, and once air and sea links are restored.

ShelterBox Farewells HMAS Tobruk

Aerial image of HMAS Tobruk at sea

HMAS Tobruk sailed into Sydney Harbour for the last time this morning.(photo courtesy of RAN)

With 35 years service and over a million nautical miles under her belt, HMAS Tobruk has made her final journey through Sydney Heads this morning, to be decommissioned. Tobruk holds special significance for ShelterBox, as we have worked with her and her crew on several occasions in her disaster relief role. In late 2013 Tobruk assisted ShelterBox Response Teams working in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.

ShelterBox Reponse Team members Alice Jefferson (left-centre) and Ayeasia Macintyre (right) among Australian Naval staff. Photo courtesy of the Australian Navy.

ShelterBox Response Team members, Alice Jefferson (left-centre) and Ayeasia Macintyre (right) among Australian Naval staff. Photo courtesy of the Australian Navy.

Tobruk’s extensive inventory includes helicopters, landing craft and lightweight RIBs that proved invaluable to help ShelterBox reach people on remote islands in the Filipino archipelago.

Most recently, SRT volunteers (including Australian, Greg Moran) worked with crew members from Tobruk to distribute aid those affected by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.

Response Team members plan distributions on the ground with the crew of HMAS Tobruk

ShelterBox Response Team members work with the crew of HMAS Tobruk on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu

We wish the officers and crew of Tobruk all the best for the future and thank them for their service.