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.

 

ShelterBox On Standby As Typhoon Hagupit Sets A Course For The Philippines

Image by NRL Marine Meterology Division [Public domain]

Image by NRL Marine Meterology Division [Public domain]

Little more than a year after Typhoon Haiyan caused devastation across the Philippines, Typhoon Hagupit is on course to reach the country at the end of the week.
The tropical storm, which has now been reclassified as a super typhoon, is intensifying as it travels across water and is expected to reach speeds of more than 200 miles per hour by the time it makes landfall.
Officials are predicting that Hagupit could follow the same trajectory as Haiyan, which could affect people that are still living in tents and temporary shelters following last year’s typhoon.
ShelterBox’s in-country team is liaising with the operations team in the UK to monitor the severity of the typhoon and decide whether a response will be needed. If so, the team will be able to distribute supplies, including ShelterBoxes and tarpaulins, that have been prepositioned at Clark International Airport in the Philippines.
ShelterBox has continued working in the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan first hit in November 2013.
In the first few months of 2014, we had sent more than 100 response volunteers to deliver aid to communities devastated by Haiyan and our commitment to people in the Philippines has continued throughout the year with the launch of four projects to deliver ‘core transitional’ shelters – resilient temporary structures that allow people to move on from living in emergency shelter.
Read more about ShelterBox’s continuing work in the Philippines to help people rebuild their homes and their lives.

Philippines Still An Emergency Over 100 Days On

HILANTAGAAN ISLAND, VISAYAS, PHILIPPINES. An aerial view of a ShelterBox tent placed where the family's home once stood. (Courtesy of Joseph Ferris III/YPDR)

HILANTAGAAN ISLAND, VISAYAS, PHILIPPINES. An aerial view of a ShelterBox tent placed where the family’s home once stood. (Courtesy of Joseph Ferris III/YPDR)

 

Over 100 days have passed since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Visayan islands in the Philippines. For many, life is starting to return to normal with rebuilding of homes, shops and businesses underway. But ShelterBox is still finding isolated pockets of need due to the country’s complex geography as well as the large scale of the disaster. The Shelter Cluster says the country is still facing a shelter emergency.
 
ShelterBox continues to have several Response Teams working to bring emergency shelter and other vital aid to communities in need across the four islands of Leyte, Cebu, Panay and Bantayan.
 
John Cecil-Wright is a Response Team volunteer who has been working in Daanbantayan, a municipality at the very top tip of Cebu. He speaks of what ShelterBox has been doing there to help the families who have lost their homes.
 
‘We were given information that there was a considerable need in Daanbantayan so over the past week we have been carrying out detailed needs assessments. All of the schools we have seen are without roofs and many homes have been damaged or destroyed. 
 
‘Cramped and squalid conditions’
 
‘We have come across multiple families sharing one small dwelling and living in very cramped and squalid conditions as they try to begin rebuilding their homes. 
 
BANTAYAN ISLAND, VISAYAS, PHILIPPINES. Families are living in makeshift shelters, built from the remains of their previous homes and any other materials that they can find. (Anne Seuren/ShelterBox)

BANTAYAN ISLAND, VISAYAS, PHILIPPINES. Families are living in makeshift shelters, built from the remains of their previous homes and any other materials that they can find. (Anne Seuren/ShelterBox)

 

‘We have also seen a number of cases where families have been split up across the municipality as there simply is not enough space for one entire family to move in with another. 
 
‘There are also many families who need to move out of the temporary shelter they have constructed on sites of their old homes while they build a permanent house.
 
‘Return to a sense of normality’
 
‘In these three different situations, we have been able to provide shelter for the families giving them more space and privacy in some cases or bringing them together in others. For all families they can now begin to rebuild their lives in a greater level of comfort, helping them return to a sense of normality.
 
‘In addition to assessing the need for tents we have also been assessing requirements for other aid. Some of the families we have spoken to will take up to a year to build their new homes and have no tools to use so we have put in a request for toolkits. Mosquito nets are being sent to protect people against disease as well as solar lamps as many homes are still without power.’
 
Thank you
 
ShelterBox’s relief efforts continue in the Philippines with aid still being distributed and more being sent as requests come back from the Response Teams in the country. We have been able to make a difference to communities in need thanks to our generous supporters around the world. We cannot thank you enough.

 

 

Tents Protect Against The Elements, Philippines

Christine Mae Ofiasa and her fourteen-day old baby, Rona Mae, are among the recent recipients of a ShelterBox tent, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.

Christine Mae Ofiasa and her fourteen-day old baby, Rona Mae, are among the recent recipients of a ShelterBox tent, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.

 

The trees outside the Santa Fe Municipal Hall used to reach about seventy metres high and were covered in green foliage. Now they are barren sticks jutting out of the earth like elderly sentries, marking the entrance to what is now a disaster relief command centre. One month ago Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, ripped up trees by the roots on this island and left those still standing largely denuded. 
The powerful winds also brought down power lines and mobile phone masts. Thousands of homes were destroyed or badly damaged – metal roofs torn back like the top of a can of sardines.
The mayor of Santa Fe, Jose Esgana, said it was as if Bantayan had been set back thirty years in a matter of minutes.  But he is determined to restore the island as fast as possible.
‘I will not give up’
‘I will not give up,’ Jose told a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) working on Bantayan. ‘I will fight this.’
Video by SRT member David Hatcher, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.
Mobile phone signal has already been restored in Santa Fe and some building materials are arriving to allow people to repair their shattered homes. ShelterBox is targeting the most vulnerable within the affected communities, ensuring a safe, dry and dignified existence while the rebuilding work gets underway.
Christine Mae Ofiasa and her fourteen-day old baby, Rona Mae, are among the recent recipients of a ShelterBox tent.  They used to live in a one-room wooden extension to Christine’s mother’s concrete home.  But the main house is now without a roof and part of a wall. All that remains of the extension is a pile of debris.
Tent will provide protection
Christine and baby Rona were living in a leaky makeshift shelter of salvaged wood when a ShelterBox team arrived. Rona’s head was covered in mosquito bites. The family’s new tent will provide protection from both rain and insects.
84-year-old Victoria Cabrera is sharing her ShelterBox tent with some of her extended family, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.

84-year-old Victoria Cabrera is sharing her ShelterBox tent with some of her extended family, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.

 

Local volunteers known as Bverts (Barangay Volunteer Emergency Response Teams) are helping the SRT to identify those most in need, including senior citizens like Victoria Cabrera.  At 84 years old, she has many children and grandchildren  – the youngest just 18 months. Victoria plans to share her new ShelterBox tent with at least some of her extended family:
‘Perhaps six or so,’ she said smiling. ‘Thank you, thank you.’

 

 

Thank You Rotary For Your Help With The Philippines

Bill Decker (US) is one of our Rotarian Response Team members helping bring shelter to families in need in the Philippines, November 2013.

Bill Decker (US) is one of our Rotarian Response Team members helping bring shelter to families in need in the Philippines, November 2013.

 

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, a call for Rotarians to help ShelterBox in the Philippines has gone out from the USA, where Rotary International President Ron D. Burton is urging 1.2 million members and 34,000 clubs worldwide to contribute to the charity’s relief programme.
 
With ShelterBox and Rotary International being global project partners, it is no surprise that Rotary Clubs across the world have risen to the call since Haiyan struck the Philippines. Within days of the greatest storm to make landfall ever, ShelterBox experienced a huge surge in fundraising donations, and Rotary Clubs worldwide were lead players in this response.
 
‘This disaster is exactly why we entered into our partnership with ShelterBox,’ said Ron. ‘It gives concerned Rotary members the opportunity to respond immediately and in a very meaningful way to life-threatening conditions faced by the people of the Philippines. 
 
‘Change lives for the better’
 
‘On Friday, I visited their website and sponsored a ShelterBox to help a family in need, and I encourage you to do the same if you’re able to do so – any level of support will help to change lives for the better.’ 
 
Becky Maynard, ShelterBox Director of Fundraising and Communications, replied, ‘It has been astounding to see Rotary clubs and Rotarians around the world mobilising so quickly to support the people of the Philippines. 
 
 
Every ShelterBox tent displays the Rotary Roundel to highlight the global project partnership between both organisations, Philippines, November 2013.

Every ShelterBox tent displays the Rotary Roundel to highlight the global project partnership between both organisations, Philippines, November 2013.

 

‘We are working directly with Rotarians in the Philippines and we have Rotarian Response Team members on the ground. The partnership between ShelterBox and the global Rotary family really demonstrates how, through service and support, we can make a real difference to people in their greatest hour of need.’
 
And, to top all the overwhelming fundraising activity and work in the field, has now had an official commendation from the Philippines Government via its UK Embassy. Gladys Corbett, Honorary Consul to the Philippines, was visiting the Rotary Club of Braids last Saturday to help out with a collection for ShelterBox in the city of Edinburgh. Clubs in this district have already raised enough for 30 ShelterBoxes.
 
In a message to Rotary District Governor Kate Keter, Mrs Corbet said, ‘I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the ShelterBox. I was pleased to lend my, albeit brief, support today and will inform the Embassy in London about your fundraising effort.’
 
‘ShelterBox is spot on’
 
‘ShelterBox is spot on with what they do to relieve the suffering of those who have lost homes and possessions. On behalf of the Philippine Government and the Philippine Embassy in London I send my sincere gratitude to all members of the Rotary Club of Braids for their support to help those who have lost everything in the Typhoon Haiyan disaster.’
 
From everyone at ShelterBox, a huge thank you to every Rotarian around the world who is supporting our disaster relief work in the Philippines. Together we are making a difference. Thank you. 

 

Chip-chip Says ‘Thank You’ From The Philippines

Children happy with their new homes in Machumben, Bantayan Island, Philippines, November 2013.

Children happy with their new homes in Machumben, Bantayan Island, Philippines, November 2013.

 

Machumben is barely a village, rather a settlement, just outside of Santa Fe airport on the remote Bantayan Island, Philippines. Here lives one of the estimated five million children believed to have been affected by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. His name is Chip-chip. He is five years old and is grateful to each and every one of you who has helped bring ShelterBox aid to him and his 18-person family.

As the ShelterBox Response Team arrive at Machumben, cows are roaming across the land against the shocking backdrop of shattered homes, ripped power lines snapping in the wind and roofs peeled off like tin can lids.
‘This little settlement is pretty far off the grid so to speak,’ says Response Team member Bill Decker (US). ‘There’re no services here, no stores, now no electricity. All these people have are two water wells and the land they farm for corn, which luckily hasn’t been damaged by the storm.’
Five-year-old Chip-chip is thankful to be safe and sheltered with his family again thanks to the aid from ShelterBox, November 2013.

Five-year-old Chip-chip is thankful to be safe and sheltered with his family again thanks to the aid from ShelterBox, November 2013.

 

Chip-chip has nine young siblings and his mother is seven months pregnant. The other household members are extended family. Prior to receiving ShelterBox aid they had began to build makeshift structures to stay in while they attempted to repair their home. With so much damage and so few resources, the wind-felled wood was insufficient to do both.
‘Because there have been many challenges in getting aid to where it is needed to be and finding these people so isolated, it has been tremendously satisfying bringing shelter to Chip-chip and his family,’ continues Bill.
‘Thank you to all those who have helped provide shelter and safety to Chip-chip’s family; starting with the donors who fund the aid, to the volunteers who pack it and deliver it. It has been a very moving experience being here.’
From everyone at ShelterBox, a big thanks to you all who have helped bring Chip-chip and his family together again. They can now continue to farm their land and begin to rebuild their homes.
You can help make a difference to more families affected by Typhoon Haiyan by donating here.

 

 

VIDEO: First Families Move Into ShelterBox Tents Following Typhoon

Jeremiah, his daughter Jingle Heart and their family have moved into a ShelterBox disaster relief tent.

Jeremiah, his daughter Jingle Heart and their family have moved into a ShelterBox disaster relief tent.

 

 

After days and nights out in the open, some families affected by the Super Typhoon Haiyan on the remote Bantayan Island of the Philippines can now call ShelterBox tents ‘home’. 

The most vulnerable families on Bantayan Island are starting to move into ShelterBox tents thanks to the generosity and support of ShelterBox donors across the globe. Thanks to your donations the first batch of tents cleared from Cebu City airport were transported yesterday and distributed immediately upon arrival. More tents are due to arrive today and tomorrow as aid is transported away from the airport.

In this short video ShelterBox Response Team member Simon Clarke (UK) recounts the moment the first families on the island moved into ShelterBox tents and how Simon’s thoughts couldn’t help but turn to the generosity of donors to help families in need especially this close to Christmas.

 

 

Please click here to donate to ShelterBox Australia’s Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Appeal

Typhoon Haiyan – Philippines Emergency Appeal

Photograph taken by Reuters/Erik De Castro, courtesy of the Thomson Reuters Foundation – AlertNet.

Photograph taken by Reuters/Erik De Castro, courtesy of the Thomson Reuters Foundation – AlertNet.

 

ShelterBox is maximising its personnel and aid in the Philippines to help displaced families after Typhoon Haiyan leaves devastation in its wake. 

Following last month’s earthquake and Friday’s Typhoon Haiyan, ShelterBox has already deployed all its aid pre-positioned at the former US air base at Clark on Luzon island.

With more response teams arriving in the coming days, ShelterBox is now assessing the need to call on other stock held at Dubai, at Subang near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Melbourne in Australia and ait its Cornwall HQ in Helston.

Having weathered the storm on Bohol island, ShelterBox Response Team member Mark Dyer is now busy with colleagues helping local people and organisations to cope with the aftermath. He says, ‘Many people on Bohol were already living in tented structures, and away from their usual homes, after the earthquake. We had been setting up camps and putting people back on their own property.’

‘When we knew the typhoon was coming we advised people to lower the tents before the storm. So we are now going back to help people put these tents back up, so they will at least have places to live for the next few weeks.’

Although Typhoon Haiyan has now passed over across the South China Sea, there is still the fear of more weather devastation. ‘The biggest effect we are hearing is from flooding, and the rains are still coming through. Houses have been swept away, and there are sink holes.’

ShelterBox is also on standby to respond to any need in Vietnam. Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, is expected to next make landfall south of the capital Hanoi on Monday (between 03.00 am and 09.00 GMT). More than 600,000 people have already been evacuated in northern provinces. Meteorologists expect the typhoon to have decreased markedly in strength by then.

To help our Response Teams to bring shelter and safety to families, please donate and help us make a difference.

Typhoon Haiyan Strikes Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan is pictured in this NASA satellite image taken on 7 November, 16.25 GMT. Image courtesy of Nasa/Earth Observatory.

Typhoon Haiyan is pictured in this NASA satellite image taken on 7 November, 16.25 GMT. Image courtesy of Nasa/Earth Observatory.

 

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.

 

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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