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.
The number of people left homeless by Saturday’s devastating typhoon has increased to 800,000 according to the latest United Nations estimate.
This morning, warehouse volunteers rallied to the ShelterBox headquarters in Cornwall, UK to pack 200 ShelterBoxes. These boxes will be sent to help families affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The typhoon was the biggest storm ever recorded to reach landfall, destroying buildings, wiping out villages and causing over 10,000 people to lose their lives.
ShelterBox aims to help up to 4,000 families and has launched a Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Appeal. With 504 tents en route now from Dubai to Manila and a possible onward flight to Cebu, this latest shipment of aid is set to arrive on Wednesday 13 November.
ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members are already on the ground in the Philippines carrying out assessments in Cebu, Bohol and Tacloban. Mark Curnow (UK) arrived in country on Sunday.
‘Everyday that goes past we realise more and more the real significance of this disaster and the areas of devastation become more apparent’.
ShelterBox could not carry out any of its disaster relief work around the globe without the support of its donors and the outpouring of support for the charity in the last few days has been overwhelming. Several major media outlets and celebrity ambassadors have rallied by ShelterBox to help spread awareness of the response.
Acclaimed American author, Maureen Johnson, tweeted: ‘Reading about the Philippines. The typhoon has claimed the lives of 10,000 or more people. Never a better time to donate to ShelterBox.’
Everyone involved with ShelterBox is incredibly grateful and humbled by the support that has been shown so far. Our teams are working around the clock to ensure that we do all we can to help the families who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
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With winds of 330 kmph, Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) which struck the Philippines this morning, is predicted to be the largest storm ever recorded to make landfall, surpassing Hurricane Camille in 1969.
A tropical storm expert speaking to the BBC said, ‘Super Typhoon Haiyan really is a beast. One of the strongest storms ever recorded with sustained winds of 313 kmph, gusting even higher.’
It is reported that more than 12 million people are at risk from the storm, including the population of the countries second largest city Cebu. Schools and offices have been closed, with local flights suspended. Thousands of people have been evacuated and thousands more have fled their homes as the category 5 storm approached. Powerlines have been overturned as 5m (15ft) waves crashed against the islands of Leyte and Samar in the central Philippines.
ShelterBox currently has a team based in the country, responding to a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol on 15 October. Despite deteriorating communications lines ShelterBox spoke with Response Team members this morning.
Mark Dyer from the US, and Paul Crudington from the UK took shelter last night, as did thousands from the coastal areas of Bohol, a popular tourist destination that has barely had time to recover from the earthquake. Mark says, ‘The storm has now passed our area, and our team is doing well. But we are already getting reports of homes being washed away in flooding, and local communications are down.’
Meteorolgists are predicting that the storm will head out across the South China Sea.
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Eight months after Super Typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines, ShelterBox staff returned to Mindinao. This time it was to meet with community leaders and beneficiaries themselves to discuss the real impact ShelterBox and its donors had on their lives.
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.
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.
‘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.
‘I used to live in a small house across the creek over there, together with my husband Abundio, and my six children: Rudyard Voune (13), Vinsun Mark (12), Reynel John (10), Christian (9), Anthony (3) and 11-month-old baby James.
‘We had heard on the TV that there was a typhoon coming but we didn’t worry as we had never had a typhoon here before, so we didn’t make any preparations. The wind and rain started to get very loud at about four in the morning, then at seven we realised that the stream had turned into a raging torrent and was flooding very fast and coming towards our house. We ran away from the house and escaped to some higher ground, where we found shelter on the top floor of a two-storey house.
‘We were trapped in the house for two days until someone came and rescued us in a boat, and we were taken to the local gymnasium which was being used as an evacuation centre. We stayed there for a week but it was so crowded that we decided to leave and go back to the ruins of our house. It proved impossible to live there as well, so we left after another week and spent the next five weeks staying with relatives until we were given a ShelterBox tent at the end of January.
‘My son Christian injured his foot really badly on some broken glass as we were escaping from the flood and he is still unable to attend school. We are all traumatised, especially the children who get frightened when it rains heavily and don’t want to go to school.
Read more here: BOPHA
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