The number of people left homeless by the devastating Philippines typhoon Haiyan has topped 800,000 according to the latest United Nations estimate. Haiyan was the biggest storm ever recorded to reach landfall, wiping out entire villages and killing over 4,000 people (numbers continue to rise). Feeling the inevitable urge to assist? Consider online donation of a ShelterBox – a brilliant emergency survival kit.
Haiyan survivors face extreme hunger, dehydration and the threat of civil anarchy. International relief agencies are scrambling to mobilize, but how can we individuals help? Donate money, of course, to established aid organizations. Or choose to focus your contribution to a specific product like ShelterBox.
Founded in 2000 by Tom Henderson, OBE, a Rotarian and former Royal Navy search and rescue diver, ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides essential supplies and temporary shelter to displaced families. Each ShelterBox contains a gravity-driven water purification kit, blankets, a solar lamp, tools, a tent designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, and other critical survival necessities.
ShelterBox Response Teams (SRT) have responded to hundreds of man-made or natural disasters in 75 countries, supplying aid to more than 600,000 people. Primary aid typically comes in the form of food, water and medicine. ShelterBox focuses instead on providing safe, secure shelter to help families survive the first months as they rebuild their lives.
Partnering with scouting and Rotary clubs worldwide, the company significantly expanded its work in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. They have launched a Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Appeal with over 500 tents now en route now from Dubai to Manila, with an onward flight to Cebu.
SRT members are already on the ground in the Philippines carrying out assessments in Cebu, Bohol and Tacloban. The challenge is in navigating the distribution bottleneck, in turn caused by destroyed infrastructure, to get supplies like these to the people in need.
If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.