Sunday 19 August 2012
Exeter Teacher Helps Flood Victims
People making their way through flood waters in the Philippines
An Exeter teacher has been deployed to the Philippines in the wake of devastating floods and landslides.
Jim Kemp, 35 and from St Thomas, is part of a ShelterBox repsonse team (SRT) who have been assessing the need for emergency shelter and other non-food items in Manila and the mountainous north.
Jim, head of design and technology at Uffculme School, was deployed to the country after tropical Storm Kai-Tak brought powerful winds and up to 35 millimetres of rain an hour over the northeast of the main island of Luzon.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been trying to recover from the destructive monsoon weather that has been slamming the nation over the past few weeks, causing widespread devastation to buildings, homes and crops.
Speaking from his base in Manila, Jim who is on his first deployment, said: “ShelterBox have 800 pre-positioned boxes at an old American airbase, so we don't have to worry about shipping them out. So far we have released 274 boxes, which with the help of the Navy, have been loaded onto trucks to be taken to the effected areas.”
He continued: “People have been evacuated and they are living in school buildings. The schools went back last week, so there is a push to get families out so children can go back. The problem is there isn't a lot of land around the flooded areas to move people to. The other difficulty is that people who have been forced out of their homes don't want to move far away from their land.”
Fionn McKee, 31 and from Falmouth, is working alongside Jim to provide emergency relief to victims of the floods and landslides. Fionn, who is a ShelterBox operations coordinator, said: “Populated, urban areas have been effected. There is so little land available, so we are looking at micro distribution.”
According to Filipino and SRT member Abner Tayco, San Fernando in Pampanga Province is the worst hit area to the north of Manila.
Abner said: “Many families in San Fernando have been forced from their homes as many surrounding villages are underwater. There is also a lot of silt that will leave the villages submerged for longer unless it is rapidly unclogged.”