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Charity gives shelter to the homeless after typhoon

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 28, 2013

  • Top: members of Cornish charity Shelter for Humanity at work helping victims of the typhoon which devastated the Philippines; left, a little girl finds shelter

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A Cornish humanitarian aid charity has provided shelter for 250 families who lost their homes in the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines earlier this month.

Shelter For Humanity, which specialises in dispatching rapid response teams to areas of the world suffering a natural disaster, have been working in the country for two weeks.

Team member Lasse Petersen said SFH workers were currently based in Ormoc City, which was severely damaged by the typhoon.

"We have successfully set up most of the tents and given shelter and a temporary home to numerous families who have lost everything," said Lasse. "We restored many buildings of Linao School in the first few days and it is now being used as an evacuation centre, sheltering homeless families."

To help the community and get them involved in the repairs, the team from the Redruth-based charity distributed rice to those sheltering at the school.

Mike Metcalfe, from Bodmin, who is also with the SFH team in the Philippines, said: "Rather than travelling to the city to queue for hours in the hope of receiving a little food, they were able to assist us in the restoration work. This allowed a coordinated group of up to a hundred local people working closely alongside the skilled team to start rebuilding their community and their lives."

Since repairing the Linao School buildings, a number of other aid agencies have moved in and are now using the classrooms as a base for their operations.

A group of medics from the charity Johanniter International – one of several disaster relief agencies on the ground – heard what SFH was doing and moved a team of six doctors into the school. Six out of seven hospitals in the region were completely destroyed by the typhoon.

ChildFund Philippines has also moved into a classroom repaired by SFH volunteers from Cornwall. The international children's charity will be taking charge of and caring for displaced children and coordinating reunions with families, as well as working to provide a stable environment for the numerous orphans of the disaster.

Loyola Height Rotary Club is planning to open a soup kitchen in another part of Linao School next month, serving 1,500 meals a day.

A child protection officer from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has contacted the SFH team and is in the process of using the school as a store for aid prior to its distribution.

Praising the sustained work of the Cornish charity, a Johanniter International representative said: "Without the immediate work of Shelter For Humanity there would not have been a safe and secure base in the area to treat the infirm and assist the community."

SFH was set up by ShelterBox founder Tom Henderson earlier this year. For more details visit shelter.org.uk

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