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Monday 24 December 2012

ShelterBox home and away this holiday season
ShelterBox home and away this holiday season Devastation left behind by Super typhoon Bopha in Philippines, December 2012.

Flooding in the UK, a super typhoon in the Philippines and a cyclone in Fiji, ShelterBox continues to help families displaced by disaster all over the world this holiday season.

After a week of heavy rains the skies continued to pour down on already-saturated ground over the weekend in Cornwall, a county in southwest England, causing rivers to burst their banks flooding many towns and villages.

ShelterBox assisted the Emergency Services with rescue efforts by coordinating evacuations in Lostwithiel, where over 200 residents were told by police to evacuate their homes. Response Team members Joe Cannon (UK), James Edgerley (UK), Ray Filbey (UK) and Phil Duloy (UK) matched the displaced families with persons willing to provide rooms in their homes in the area.

‘We got the call for assistance from St. Austell Gospel Trust on Saturday and headed to the town with a few tents to use as a transit area with refreshments while families waited to be transported to either a rescue centre or another home,’ said Phil. ‘We also brought with us water carriers, cooking sets and ropes. With Lostwithiel being so close to ShelterBox headquarters, we were able to respond immediately.’

SRT members Joe Cannon, James Edgerley and Ray Filbey, also a fireman, discussing with Watch Commander of the fire service, Stuart Williams, the planned evacuation of a man and his disabled mother to the home of one of the Lostwithiel residents that made space for the displaced, December 2012.

Other areas in Cornwall are flooded, including Helston where ShelterBox headquarters is located, but the emergency services have the capacity to handle the situation. However ShelterBox stands ready to assist if necessary.

Meanwhile ShelterBoxes have arrived in southern Philippines where two ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs) have been helping families made homeless by Super typhoon Bopha that hit earlier this month.

Deadliest storm

The country’s emergency management agency says Bopha is the strongest and deadliest storm to hit the Asian country this year with over 800 people still missing and 1.2 million families displaced.

‘We are working on the island of Mindanao, which is the worst hit,’ said SRT member Alice Jefferson (UK). ‘As rescue efforts continue, we are working towards distributing emergency shelter to the most vulnerable families here. We are working with the Navy to transport the ShelterBoxes to the most affected areas of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental (Coast). We have also been training local workers who have been affected by the disaster and also Rotaractors to help set up tents, which will enable rapid distributions.’

Collapsed hut in Fiji by Cyclone Evan where family is forced to live outside, December 2012.

An SRT has been in Fiji responding to Cyclone Evan that left behind a trail of widespread destruction; particularly on the main island Viti Levu in the towns of Lautoka and Nadi.

‘The destruction this cyclone has caused is beyond words,’ said Lautoka resident Melaia Waisele to Sky News.

SRT members Owen Smith (NZ) and Ross McKenzie (NZ) have been working with local Rotarians and Government to assess the need and distribute ShelterBoxes to the most needy families.

‘We’re amazed at how fast families here are rebuilding their homes already,’ said Owen. ‘The ShelterBox tents are now providing them somewhere to live temporarily as they continue to rebuild their lives.’
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