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A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is assessing the needs of communities affected by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in the Philippines as ShelterBox aid is en route to the disaster-hit island.
Initial reports of the scale of destruction were delayed after the quake struck Bohol province on 15 October due to communications being down. Now almost one week later it is thought over 34,000 homes have been damaged.
Following updates from Filipino SRT volunteer Sonny Ongkiko, ShelterBox Operations sent Arnold Kelly (NZ), who has previous ShelterBox experience in the Philippines, and Tim Vile (UK) to assist Sonny with assessments.
‘The damage this quake has caused is prominent as we drive around the island,’ said Tim. ‘There are many communities where homes have been completely destroyed; others have been partially damaged. Families are being forced to sleep outside. Many roads have also fallen away or are blocked by landslides leaving many communities isolated.
‘We visited one fishing community where all the fishermen are frightened of returning to the ocean out of fear of tsunamis as there’s been so many aftershocks. We feel them daily. Apparently over 1,800 aftershocks have been recorded so far. The seabed has risen too preventing many boats to sail out to sea as the water level has become shallower. These people now have no home and no livelihood.
'Horrendous scale of destruction'
‘The rainy season has just begun too so it’s a disturbing scene here. I’m ex-Fire Services after 34 years of working so I’m used to seeing people in crisis. This is not a short-lived crisis. It could go on for months or years as the damage is so widespread. It’s a horrendous scale of destruction for the municipal authorities to deal with.
‘Over the next couple of days we will continue with assessments to establish who is in most need for ShelterBox aid. Disaster relief tents, tool kits and water filters are some of the items currently being shipped to Bohol from prepositioned stock in the Filipino city of Clarke. By the time the items reach here, we will have distribution plan in place.’