Emergency shelter ‘biggest need’ in Philippines
‘The biggest needs right now are emergency shelter… almost all the houses are destroyed,’ said David Carden, head of United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Philippines.
Almost a month has passed since Typhoon Bopha made landfall in eastern Mindanao and the ever-increasing number of displaced people is currently around one million.
ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs) have been on the ground distributing emergency shelter and other lifesaving supplies to families in need in the most affected areas including Compostela Valley.
‘There are thousands and thousands of people with nothing,’ said ShelterBox’s Operations Philippines In-Country Coordinator Alice Jefferson. ‘We have been working with the Government of Compostela Valley to find those families most in need. What’s more difficult though is finding suitable land to set the tents up on. It’s very hilly here, it’s constantly raining and flooding, and as there is so much debris, there’s little space.
‘Tent training has gone well with land engineers from the Government who have been setting up the tents well, enabling families to move in quickly.
‘Tomorrow an SRT will be travelling up the coast to Davao Oriental, another very damaged province, to assess the need in areas that are more isolated.’
Police Officer Rey from Public Sector Company Regional Office XI and his family lost their house in the disaster. He has been assisting emergency services with rescue efforts and helping ShelterBox with its response.
‘Everything is damaged in Compostela Valley: houses, agricultural products like coconuts and bananas and roads and bridges,’ commented Rey. ‘The priority now is shelter and having ShelterBox here is very helpful for the displaced people. They are very grateful for ShelterBox’s help and are happy that they were able to celebrate the holidays in their tent out of the rain with their families.’