Local scouts, Rotarians and students have been helping ShelterBox Response Teams (SRT) set up camps in the devastated areas of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, providing emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for thousands of the most vulnerable families in need.
Their support comes as tens of thousands of people remain displaced almost six weeks after Typhoon Washi struck the north of Mindanao, a southern island in the Philippines, sweeping away nearly 50,000 homes and affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
‘As more ShelterBoxes and tents arrive, more hands seem to become available to put them up,’ said SRT volunteer Abner Tayco (PH). ‘It’s incredible seeing how many people out there have huge support for the work that ShelterBox does and they want to help out as much as they can in any way they can.’
SRT volunteer Lyndon Tamblyn (NZ) demonstrated to scouts from the areas of Mizamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro how to set up ShelterBox tents at the Calaanan camp. By the end of the day, 50 tents were set up.
‘It’s been amazing having help from the scouts and they have brought with them a wealth of knowledge in setting up camps,’ said Lyndon. ‘It was easy to show them how to put up the tents as they already knew about distance and spacing so we have been able to work at double our normal pace.’
One group of medical students had read about the work that ShelterBox was doing in the Asian country on the charity’s Facebook page and went in search of the SRT. Ian, Carlo and Melvin found the ShelterBox camps and volunteered their free time away from their studies to help put up tents.
‘We may not be able to afford to contribute any money to ShelterBox but we are willing to help set up tents,’ said Ian. ‘We are really happy to help out this way and it’s great to be part of such an inspirational organisation that restores dignity to families’ lives after a disaster.’
The SRT has also had support from volunteers from aid agency All Hands and local Rotarians, who have assisted in setting up at least 200 tents to date.
ShelterBox responded instantly to the disaster by deploying in-country SRT volunteers to assess the need for emergency aid. Since then, enough tents have been set up to provide shelter, warmth and dignity to almost 1300 families.