Disasters in the Philippines

The Philippines is hit by a series of deadly disasters every year. Find out more about how we’ve responded to disasters through the years.

ShelterBox in the Philippines

We have responded to disasters in the Philippines more than any other country.

Since 2004 we have responded more than 25 times in the country to various devastating disasters such as storms, typhoons, floods, cyclones, and earthquakes.

One of the largest disasters we responded to in the Philippines was Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda. Haiyan was the most powerful storm in 2013 and one of the most powerful tropical cyclones of all time.

More recently, we have supported families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing shelter for families living in evacuation centres and with host families after the Taal volcano eruption, so they could socially distance.

Family in the Philippines stand under trees by ShelterBox tent after Typhoon Haiyan
A family who received a ShelterBox tent after Typhoon Haiyan

Why do so many disasters happen in the Philippines?

Warm ocean waters, low-lying coasts, poverty and geography help explain why the Philippines is so prone to disasters.

Located just above the equator, the Philippines faces the western Pacific without much else in the way to take the force of storms before they make landfall. Those warm, equatorial waters power about 20 typhoons a year.

In recent decades, a lot of people have flocked to risky, low-lying islands – havens for cheap and crammed housing. The rapidly constructed housing and inadequate evacuation plans mean that the local population is left vulnerable when disaster strikes. Existing houses are unable to withstand the extreme weather conditions.

On top of everything else, the country’s location on the Pacific Ring of Fire means it is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tropical storms and typhoons.

The country also experiences monsoon rains across the country which can lead to flooding and landslides.

Source: National Geographic

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Philippines timeline

We've responded in the Philippines more than any other country we've responded to. Have a look at some key dates dating from 2000 to today.

2000 – ShelterBox was founded in Helston, Cornwall.

2004 – Typhoon Nanmadol, locally known as Yoyong, hits the Philippines and ShelterBox responds soon after.

2009 – Typhoon Parma, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Pepeng, was the second typhoon to affect the Philippines within the span of a week. We supported nearly 650 families.

2011 – We supported families in Luzon following Typhoon Pedring, known locally as Nesat.

2013 – Typhoon Bopha, known in the Philippines as Pablo, devastates the Philippines. We responded in the area of Mindanao, supporting over 1,200 families.

2013 – Typhoon Haiyan, known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, wreaking havoc in the country. we responded with supporting nearly 3,500 families.

2014 – Typhoon Rammasun, also known as Typhoon Glenda, was one of the only two Category 5 super typhoons on record in the South China Sea. We supported more than 1,000 families in the area of Legazpi.

2017 – ShelterBox Operations Philippines is established as a non-government organisation.

2018 – 2,000 families were supported with shelter kits and essential household items after Typhoon Urduja (known locally as Kai-tak) and Super Typhoon Mangkhut (also know as Ompong) ripped through the Philippines.

2019 – We supported 9,580 families after the devastating Tropical Storm Usman at the beginning of the year, after three powerful earthquakes shook Mindanao island in October, and again after Typhoon Kammuri destroyed homes in December 2019.

2020 – We supported families to rebuild their homes and protect themselves from coronavirus after the Taal Volcanco erupted in January, after Typhoon Vongfong in May and after Typhoon Goni in October – November.

ShelterBox Operations Philippines

ShelterBox Operations Philippines is an NGO, locally registered in the Philippines.

ShelterBox Operations Philippines allows us to locally store aid items in the province of Cebu so that we can respond and distribute fast and efficiently within the country, whenever disaster strikes.

This is a first for ShelterBox – setting up ShelterBox Operations Philippines is an achievement we celebrate and feel proud of.

It’s a great example of our flexible and agile model at work, which enables us to ensure we’re well-placed to reach families as quickly as possible when disaster strikes.

Learn more

Areas we have worked in

Lily and Jeralin's story

When Tropical Storm Urduja hit the Philippines in December 2017, Lily and Jeralin lost their home. We supported them with a sturdy ShelterBox tent – a place to call home.

Our recent responses

Philippines: Typhoon Goni

Super Typhoon Goni is the strongest storm of 2020. Read more about the disaster and how we’re helping

Philippines Typhoon Vongfong (Ambo)

We’ve been supporting disaster-hit families with essential aid to enable them to rebuild their homes and protect from coronavirus

Taal Volcano Eruption in the Philippines

We have supported families who lost their homes and have been left vulnerable to coronavirus