Monday 20 August 2012
Exeter Response Team member: Deployment in the Philippines
Exeter teacher Jim Kemp: 'I can honestly say that yesterday was one of the most rewarding days of my life.'
This weekend, 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 Response Team (SRT) who have been assessing the need for emergency shelter and other non-food items in Manila and the mountainous north.
He has been speaking to ShelterBox about his experiences so far.
‘I spent yesterday putting up ShelterBox tents with the help of volunteers from the local Rotary Clubs, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the Philippine Navy and volunteers from the Asian College of Science and Technology. They were all fantastic and between us we managed to put up 50 tents by 3pm.
'Against our expectations, the first group of evacuees arrived within 10 minutes of putting up the last tents. The families arrived on the back of a lorry, with the provisions they'd managed to rescue from the flooding including limited clothes, food and cookware.
'They were clearly delighted with the tents and equipment in the ShelterBox. Abner Tyco, a Filipino SRT Volunteer, then explained the contents of the ShelterBox in Tagalog (the local language) to numerous occasions of spontaneous applause.
'It was a privilege to deliver the boxes and I couldn't help feeling humbled to think of all the donors, box packers, Rotary members and ShelterBox staff and volunteers (as well as those helping us put up tents on the day) who had made it all happen. The EMS nurses, who had worked tirelessly in very hot and humid conditions all day, even stayed to help number each tent and show the allocated families to their new homes.
'This morning, when we returned to check the tents were all erected correctly and issue Certificates of Ownership to the families, we were met by a family of seven children who ran to meet us in their flip-flops. The camp manager explained that they were very happy to have the extra space on site as they'd previously been crammed into a school sports hall.
'I can honestly say that yesterday was one of the most rewarding days of my life.’
Jim, head of deisgn 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.
To read more about Jim’s deployment with UK SRT member Fionn Mckee, click here.