Rotarians from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, towns in Mindanao that were worst affected by Typhoon Washi on 16 December, have offered their assistance to the ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) on deployment in the Philippines to help put up ShelterBox tents.
Response team volunteers Abner Tayco (PH) and Jesus Nicdao (PH), arrived in the country’s second largest island on 20 December. They found many families in need of emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies, having had their homes swept away by the flash floods.
With nearly 1,000 people dead and over 280,000 displaced by the late-season tropical storm, Philippines President Benigno Aquino has declared a national calamity, according to the BBC:
‘First priority is to relocate to areas that no longer pose a danger to them,’ he told a meeting in Cagayan de Oro.
The ShelterBox team has been working with the local government to find suitable safe sites to pitch the ShelterBox tents. Abner and Jesus have also been demonstrating to volunteers from local Rotary clubs how to set up the ShelterBox tents.
‘The assistance we have had from Rotary has been invaluable here,’ said Jesus, himself a Rotarian and also Chairman and Founder of ShelterBox Philippines. ‘It is possible for Abner and I to set up the tents ourselves but it would have been a much slower process. Now that we have shown the Rotarians how to do it, they will be able to help us set up camps rapidly. This will allow families who have lost everything to soon begin to rebuild their lives, offering them shelter, warmth and dignity - assets everyone should have so close to Christmas.’
Prepositioned ShelterBoxes in the Philippine city of Clark have enabled the charity’s quick response and are being flown to the affected areas by the Philippine Air Force (PAF).