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Monday 27 February 2012

ShelterBox helps quake survivors in Philippines
ShelterBox helps quake survivors in Philippines Photograph taken by Abner Tayco (Philippines).

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been distributing emergency shelter on the Filipino island of Visaya to families displaced from their homes by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck on 6 February. 

Initial reports following the quake stated there was no need for humanitarian assistance. However, Filipino Congress woman Joselyn LimKaichiong had heard about ShelterBox's recent deployment in Mindanao following floods that hit the island last December. She alerted the deployed SRT there through her Rotarian contacts saying that there was a need for emergency shelter in Visaya's southern province of Negros Oriental near Dumaguete city. 

ShelterBox was able to mobilize a Response Team immediately, using its global network of SRT members. 

"Philippines-based SRT Abner Tayco is one of our in-country members who had been part of the SRT on our recent deployment in Mindanao," said ShelterBox operations manager Alf Evans. "He is being accompanied by Denmark-based SRT Rikke Jacobsen who was flown from Singapore, where she has been travelling. Within 48 hours of the alert, they were on the ground making a needs assessment in the affected area."


Photograph taken by Abner Tayco (Philippines).

The earthquake caused giant waves that not only destroyed fishing villages along the coast, but also caused two major landslides that resulted in another two villages being buried killing at least 65 people. Major roads and bridges have also been destroyed and aftershocks are being felt on a daily basis. 

Lost their homes

Consequently, thousands of people have been affected and many have lost their homes. Jacobsen and Tayco have been distributing shelter in the towns of Jimalalud, La Libertad and Guihulngan using residual stocks transported from Mindanao. 

"We have been setting up ShelterBox tents to help the families who lost their homes along the coastal villages and also in La Libertad where one of the landslides happened," said Jacobsen. "Local Rotarians from Dumaguete, Dumaguete South and Dumaguete North travelled almost three hours to help us put up the tents - their help has been invaluable."


Photograph taken by Abner Tayco (Philppines).


The local government has also helped the Response Team with vital logistical support.

"The help that ShelterBox has given to the people of my district is tremendous," said Congress woman Joselyn. "We really appreciate the SRT members giving their valuable time to help us - thank you." 

The team has distributed 41 tents to date bringing shelter, warmth and dignity to many families. They are now heading to Planas where the other landslide hit to distribute a further 15 tents.
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