Andre Bloemink extends his stay in the Philippines

Update from Andre Bloemink on the relief efforts of ShelterBox in the Philippines

  • Dec. 12, 2013 5:00 a.m.

ShelterBox recovery efforts provide assistance to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

By Andre BloeminkSubmitted

The days have been full bringing ShelterBox aid to those most vulnerable.

The island of Bantayan is where I am currently located. I am currently leading a team of two Americans and one Englishman whom have hit the ground running. We have also been working very closely with other aid organizations and most importantly the Bantayan Volunteer Emergency Response Team (BVERT). This is a group of young 20 something locals who have been working tirelessly to help bring a sense of normality to their friends and neighbours. We are employing the BVERTS to aid us with our field assessments and the erection of the tents.

We are focusing on those most vulnerable following the storm. These are families with infants or women in the last term of their pregnancies, the elderly, sick or injured, people with special needs who have suffered a total loss of their home to Typhoon Yolanda. Yolanda is what the locals have named the storm.

My team is the third one to come to this island. By the time we are done there will be nearly 1500 ShelterBox tents on this island. Please do not forget that we have teams in three other areas of the islands affected by the typhoon.

The people here are what I will truly take home with me. For the most part, they are getting on with their lives as best they can. The storm has affected them on many fronts. The two primary sources of income here on the islands is either farming, primarily poultry, or fishing. Both of these livelihoods have seen devastation on a large scale. In some areas damage to the fishing fleet is upwards of 80 per cent and the fatality rate within the poultry farms near 50 per cent.

Despite all of this chaos, the aid workers here are greeted daily with many smiles and many waves. The children are always the shining stars. We, the volunteers, are a bit of a curiosity to them but they are generally not shy. High fives and fist bumps have been a fun way to interact. I have even been allowed to pilot one of their homemade kites of which there are many.

I hear the fundraising events are taking place back home with great success. You can feel proud that your efforts are making a tremendous impact here in the Philippines. The relief efforts are far from over so please continue to spread the good word. Be nice to whoever was getting stuck to your school walls. Most importantly, have fun!

I will update again  as I have extended my stay here to December 20.

Just Posted

Fernie businesses go green

Instead of asking if customers need a bag, cashiers will ask if they’re okay without one.

Failing to stop at watercraft inspection station will result in $345 fine

CO Service reminding boaters it is mandatory to stop at watercraft inspection stations

Historic qualifier for Dolphins Swim Club

For the first time in Dolphins Swim Club history, one of their swimmers has qualified for nationals.

Fernie youth drafted to Western Hockey League

Palmer one of two Fernie youth drafted in past 25 years

UPDATED: Hwy 3 west of Creston remains closed due to mudslide

A detour is available on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, but commuters could see wait times

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Most Read