The world stopped as accounts of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, began to make their way into news outlets. The unprepared residents of the Philippines were subjected to torrential rains, sustained winds up to 195 mph, and devastating storm surges. Ships were heaved from the ocean, trees were ripped from the ground, homes were obliterated, and entire families were lost. Millions of people were affected and more than 6,000 people perished.
Nearly one month ago a shipping container left Goal Zero headquarters bound for Ormoc, Philippines. We, along with Barebones and Tifie Humanitarian, are sending a team to meet up with that container in the coming weeks. Their mission is to rebuild a school in Ormoc, then distribute and erect 65 Living Essentials Kits in Ormoc and Tacloban.
Through generous donations to Tifie, Goal Zero and Barebones, the school will be receiving reliable and inexpensive power and light. They will also be receiving money to go toward rebuilding and restocking supplies for students.
“The school was hit hard and sustained significant damage. After the storm the school was left with only three walls; the fourth had to be taken down,” said Rebecca Litchfield, Goal Zero Director of Community Programs. “All the supplies and furniture were gone and the roof was a complete loss. They were able to get power back to the school, but it is unreliable and expensive.”
The Living Essentials Kits that will be going to families in Ormoc and Tacloban are designed to function as transitional housing. They will provide shelter and power, and can be turned into 10-15 year structures. Aside from the heavy duty tents, Barebones is including gardening tools with a raised grow bed kit, while Goal Zero is supplying a solar recharging kit with a 220 volt battery, two 15-watt solar panels and two LED lanterns.
“The biggest need right now is for semi-permanent housing,” said Robert Workman, Goal Zero Founder and CEO. “The need drives what we can do. What we can do is take a family, put them into a new home with electricity and a vegetable garden, on their own piece of land that’s been deeded to them by a local plantation owner. That’s pretty darn cool.”
With the Typhoon more than six months behind us, things in the Philippines are improving; however, much of the country is still in ruin. The damages total well into the billions and people are still struggling to piece their lives back together and get back on their feet. Tarps, tents, beached ships, buildings near collapse, and all manner makeshift shelters are what most call home. Our hope is to change that for a few.
Goal Zero’s Brand Content Manager Ryan Baylis recently returned from the Philippines to survey damage and help Goal Zero understand where help was needed. “You don’t really understand it all until you return home,” commented Baylis. “While you’re there you see people who are happy. They’re happy even though they lost so much. They laugh, play basketball, do what they need to do to survive and then go home to a tarp tied to a tree. Coming home made it really sink in. Can we make a difference? Yes. We do what we can, and that’s where it starts.”
When our team hits the ground in the Philippines we will be keeping you updated via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so keep an eye out. Thank you for supporting Goal Zero and for making this relief effort possible.
Living Essentials Kits
If you’d like to learn more about the products included in the Living Essentials Kits feel free to click their names below: