News Front Page

Thursday 24 January 2013

ShelterBox helps typhoon survivors in Philippines
ShelterBox helps typhoon survivors in Philippines Jose and Protacia Ongcoy, a married couple in their late seventies who lost everything to Typhoon Bopha at the beginning of December, in front of their new shelter, Philippines, January 2013.

Terrified for her children as the heavy rains and violent winds thrashed down on her home in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, 32-year-old Marizmer Marquez hunted for a safe place to hide her baby and second youngest child as she feared her home collapsing. Knowing that Typhoon Bopha had cut the power hours before, Marizmer decided to hide baby Rodolfo in the fridge and Injeto in the washing machine to give them the best protection against the destructive storm. She took cover in the house with her husband Rodolfo and eldest child and waited until it passed.

"Once the weather calmed, they saw that their house had been severely damaged to the point that it’s still unlivable but they told me at least they were safe, unharmed and all together," said ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member, Alice Jefferson (UK).

The family had been living in a makeshift structure made out of debris, like hundreds of thousands of other people, when a SRT found them in Compostela Valley on Decembe 26, almost three weeks after Bopha struck.

"Their home was stronger than the majority of other homes in eastern Mindanao as it was made out of concrete but they do not have the money at the moment to start rebuilding it," continued Jefferson.

The Marquez family with their ShelterBox tent and children's activity pack, Philippines, January 2013.

"The structure they were living in when we met them barely provided any form of protection against the elements. It’s hard to imagine they were surviving in it for three weeks after the storm. Now they are in a ShelterBox tent, not only giving them shelter against the continuous rains but also allowing the parents to return to work to raise money for the necessary materials to start rebuilding their home’s roof and walls."

Having experienced a traumatic experience, Marizmer’s ten-year-old daughter Maurich was delighted to find a children’s activity pack among the other items in their ShelterBox.

"There is no schooling here at the moment for our children because of the huge scale of destruction, so it’s great for our children to have this pack to keep them distracted from the situation we are in," noted Marizmer. "Maurich was particularly excited by the gift."

Meanwhile, along the isolated coast of Davao Oriental Province, another SRT has been distributing more emergency shelter to typhoon survivors, including Jose and Protacia Ongcoy, a married couple in their late seventies who lost everything, including their livelihood.

Jose and Protacia Ongcoy standing in front of their damaged home, Philippines, January 2013.

"Their corn farm is heavily damaged and they lost 90 percent of their coconut trees, their main source of income," said SRT member, Bill Woodard (US). "Before, they were living comfortably but now with most of their possessions and livelihood gone, they have been worrying about their future.

"They have been sleeping in their extended kitchen with a plastic sheet for the roof as it was destroyed. They have converted their dining table into a bed but when it rains at night, they are forced to sleep upright in one area of the kitchen in order to not get wet." The SRT delivered a ShelterBox to Jose and Protacia to enable them to sleep soundly at night even when the rains come.

"I feel energized to face life all over again," said Jose.
Key Stories