Local Woman Builds Evacuation Shelter, Saving a Village During Typhoon Haiyan

Posted at 7:30 PM, Nov 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-13 20:50:45-05

CANGUMBANG, Philippines- Twenty-three-year-old Carter Brown of Sturgis was in the Philippines volunteering and interning when Typhoon Haiyan hit.

He was inspired to help in the Philippines after seeing fellow Sturgis native and Grand Valley State University Graduate Elsa Thomasma volunteer over the year.

She built an evacuation center for a small rural village outside Tacloban City after seeing the devastation flooding caused them in the past.

Carter tells us she raised the money herself, fought the local government for a building permit then hired local workers to build the center.

Carter says they brought water and food to the village the day before the storm.

“Last November she was determined to build and raise money for an evacuation center which was just finished since I’ve been over there, I believe it was in August when it opened officially,” Carter said.

He says he’s read the evacuation center is still standing and only lost its roof.

“All of those homes of those families are completely gone but the evacuation center last I knew,” Carter said.

Carter returned back home to Sturgis Tuesday.  Elsa stayed back in the Philippines to go check on the village and the evacuation center and to help with the relief efforts there.