ShelterBox is Responding to Typhoon Rai
On December 16 and 17th Super Typhoon Rai struck the Philippines. The typhoon, known locally as Odette, is the most severe storm to hit the Philippines this year – and one of the worst the world has seen in 2021.
2.6 million people have been affected by the Typhoon. 375 people have been reported dead and an estimated 160,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed.
As communications improve these numbers are rising and many fear this will be worse than Super Typhoon Haiyan.
“The Philippines is a country still rebuilding having been ravaged by storms far too often, but Typhoon Rai is on a scale our team there simply haven’t seen before. It’s left large areas of the country decimated, and we’re expecting the death toll and damage reports to get much worse. We’ll be responding with emergency shelter that we have stored locally to help Filipinos whose homes were in the path of the storm – many who haven’t yet fully recovered from previous disasters.” – ShelterBox CEO Sanj Srikanthan
3.8 million people in the direct path of the storm were already living below the poverty line.
The Typhoon has caused widespread destruction, the severity of which is only just starting to be understood. With a lack of running water, we are hearing of people unable to wash and clean. Widespread fuel shortages are forcing many people to undergo long journeys by foot. Communications lines are still unstable and rolling power cuts are making it hard for families to contact one another. Many communities are predicted to be without power for months.
Whilst tropical storms like Super Typhoon Rai are a natural part of our climate, the severity of a storm like this is likely to be linked to climate change. Rising temperatures are causing storms to become much more intense and have a far more devastating impact.
The “Department of Finance (DOF) said the Philippines has been suffering billions of pesos in financial loss and other damage as a result of climate change-related events.” (link)
What is ShelterBox doing?
ShelterBox will be providing emergency shelter and other essential items to those who have lost their homes in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Rai tore across the country.
ShelterBox has responded to more disasters in the Philippines than any other country. Since 2004 we have responded on average twice a year to various devastating disasters such as storms, typhoons, floods, cyclones, and earthquakes in the country.
That’s why we have set up ShelterBox Operations Philippines, a locally registered NGO that is supported and guided by ShelterBox Operations HQ in the UK.
While many aid agencies are struggling to get into the country, we have a team based there and already have aid stored in the country. We are talking with local partners and in regular, close liaison with our strong network of local Rotarians.
The damage to communication lines, fuel shortages, and Covid travel restrictions are making relief efforts more challenging. But our team in our Philippines office are working hard to understand the true extent of the destruction and we aim to begin distributions between Christmas and New Years Eve.