Santa Barbara, CA – ShelterBox is responding to Super Typhoon Goni, which made landfall on November 1, by preparing its supplies of emergency shelter, solar lights, and other essentials in the Philippines. Known locally as Rolly, the super typhoon is the latest in a series of violent storms to rip through the Philippines. Despite the Philippines government imposing a complete ban on the importation of aid supplies, ShelterBox is uniquely positioned to respond to this series of disasters, thanks to the organization’s pre-positioned aid.
Bringing 140 mph winds and torrential rainfall, Super Typhoon Goni became the most powerful storm to hit the country since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people have evacuated their homes. The first town hit by Goni is said to have lost 90% of its homes—and with communications down, the true scale of the damage is still emerging. So far, there are 17 reported casualties. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) estimates that 19 to 31 million people could be affected in areas along the typhoon’s track.
Tropical Storm Astani (known locally as Siony) is also approaching the region, due to make landfall on November 5. While hopes remain that the storm will alter its path, the current trajectory will cause further destruction to communities that have already been devastated by disaster. Goni is the 5th storm to hit the region since mid-October.
To make matters worse, the Philippines is experiencing the second worst COVID-19 outbreak in South East Asia. Families now face the double threat of having nowhere to live except potentially overcrowded evacuation centers, while trying to protect themselves from the deadly virus.
ShelterBox is uniquely positioned to respond to this disaster. To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Filipino government imposed a complete ban on the importation of aid supplies. ShelterBox has responded to disasters in the Philippines 27 times: more frequently than any other country in the organization’s history. Because of this, ShelterBox already had pre-positioned aid in the Philippines. ShelterBox was registered in the country as a local NGO in 2017 and welcomed its first local members of staff to ShelterBox Operations Philippines in January 2019. ShelterBox Operations has a warehouse in Cebu, in the center of the Philippines, stocked with emergency shelter materials and non-food items, such as water containers and solar lights.
“ShelterBox is mobilizing to assist communities affected by Super Typhoon Goni, conducting rapid needs assessments in order to provide immediate relief to displaced families who are now particularly vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Kerri Murray, President of ShelterBox USA. “The ShelterBox Operations Philippines warehouse was established precisely for disasters like Typhoon Goni, enabling us to respond in the most effective and efficient ways possible, to ensure the timely deployment of emergency shelter and household items from our in-country warehouse. We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure no family is left without shelter in the aftermath of Typhoon Goni and as the country prepares for more impending storms.”
Marilou Pia, Manager of ShelterBox Operations Philippines in Cebu province, described the difficulties compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic saying, “with limited access and communication systems, the full extent of the damage is still uncertain, but we do know that many people have been left with nowhere to live. And we are very worried about coronavirus. We already have a very high rate of infection – the government is doing its best to address it, but the virus could spiral out of control if people stay in crowded evacuation centers or with host families for too long.”
Since 2000, ShelterBox has provided shelter, warmth, and hope following more than 300 disasters in over 100 countries. ShelterBox serves the most vulnerable families who have been displaced due to earthquake, volcano, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami, or conflict by delivering essential shelter aid and life-saving supplies. ShelterBox’s core aid items include a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, a water filtration system, emergency lighting, and other tools for survival. ShelterBox USA is based in Santa Barbara, California. ShelterBox USA was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 and 2019.
ShelterBox is an official Project Partner of Rotary International. Tax-deductible donations to the organization can be made at www.ShelterBoxUSA.org or by calling (805) 608-2400.