Rotary And ShelterBox Renew Partnership To Aid Disaster Survivors Worldwide

Greg in Vanuatu

Last year, Rotarian and Australian SRT member, Greg Moran (far right) became the first serving District Governor to deploy with ShelterBox. (Image – Vanuatu 2015)

The following is a press release from Rotary International:

Rotary and disaster relief charity ShelterBox renewed a three-year agreement to provide immediate, lifesaving assistance to survivors of natural disasters and conflict.

 

Rotary clubs worldwide have mobilized to provide immediate relief to thousands of displaced people quickly and efficiently with ShelterBox for 16 years. To date, Rotary members have donated US$48 million to provide shelter for families in need – 40 percent of ShelterBox’s total of US$119.6 million raised.

 

Australian SRT member, Peter Pearce takes part in Exercise Sea Dawn

Australian SRT member and Rotarian, Peter Pearce deployed 20 times with ShelterBox and was recently awarded the OAM for his humanitarian service. (Image – Exercise Sea Dawn with the ADF 2014)

 

“The partnership between Rotary and ShelterBox has provided a place of refuge to people facing some of the most difficult and uncertain moments in their lives,” said John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary. “We are happy to renew this project partnership and honor our ongoing commitment to taking action to help communities devastated by disasters and conflict.”

 

Each ShelterBox container typically provides a tent designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, along with regionally appropriate supplies such as a water purification kit, blankets, tools, solar lights, and other necessities to help a family survive for six months or more after a disaster.

 

As part of the communities they serve, Rotary clubs help ShelterBox identify and prioritize immediate relief needs in disaster-affected areas and assist with the deployment of shelter kits, education materials and lifesaving supplies. Rotary members also fund aid boxes, become trained relief volunteers, assist with shipping customs clearance and connect with governments and other organizations in impacted areas to facilitate the delivery of boxes and aid. CEO of ShelterBox, Chris Warham said, “Rotary and ShelterBox will always stand side by side to help those less fortunate. This project partnership renewal simply indicates the strength of our long friendship, and recognizes the immense practical and funding support provided by Rotary members worldwide to enable us to reach out to families in distress.”

Derek Locke in Nigeria 2012

Rotarian and SRT member from the US, Derek Locke recently received the ‘Service Above Self’ form Rotary International for his work with ShelterBox. (Image – Nigeria 2012)

 

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. To access broadcast quality video footage and still photos go to: The Newsmarket.

 

About ShelterBox

ShelterBox has provided emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families affected by more than 270 disasters in more than 95 countries, and has already helped over 1 million beneficiaries. Based in Cornwall, United Kingdom, with 18 international affiliates, ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth, and dignity to people made homeless by disasters worldwide. The agreement with Rotary reaffirms the charity’s volunteer base, enhancing its capacity to respond rapidly to disasters while keeping costs low. ShelterBox teams and their distribution partners are currently operating in Ecuador, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Niger, Cameroon, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

ENDS

ShelterBox Australia General Manager, Mike Greenslade (himself a member of the Rotary Club of Alstonville) said,

The renewing of the Project Partnership agreement with Rotary International is great news for both organisations. ShelterBox has moved on hugely since the original agreement was signed, for instance, we no longer only supply ShelterBoxes but instead have a large range of equipment that we can tailor to suit the needs of the beneficiaries. ShelterBox provides a great opportunity for Rotarians to get involved with international service wether it be an Ambassador or a Response Team member.

June in Seoul

ShelterBox Australia Ambassador and Rotarian, June Wade at the RI Convention in Seoul 2016

I’ve deployed many times with ShelterBox and have seen the value of Rotary in action in almost every country I’ve visited. Here in Australia,  Rotarians are essential to the day-to-day running of the organisation and fundraising from clubs and Ambassadors forms a huge part of our income. Put simply, without Rotary we would not be able to help so many people in desperate need’

ShelterBox Working With Rotary to Help Landslide-Affected Families in Sri Lanka

Torrential rain in Sri Lanka

 

On 14th May a low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal caused torrential rain to fall across Sri Lanka. With the ground saturated, further rains cased major landslides 18th May, displacing hundreds of families. Following consultation with local authorities and Rotary contacts, a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) was sent to assess the need for emergency shelter.
Response Team members Liam Norris (UK) and Derek Locke (USA) are coordinating with the disaster management agency and the military to set up camps for displaced families. 328 ShelterBoxes have arrived in the country and the team are conducting ‘train the trainer’ sessions with the Sri Lankan army to erect relief tents in the camps.
SRT volunteer, Derek Locke (USA) instructs Sri Lanakan soldiers on erecting a ShelterBox tent

SRT volunteer, Derek Locke (USA) instructs Sri Lankan soldiers on erecting a ShelterBox tent

ShelterBox has previously worked in Sri Lanka in response to the Asian Tsunami in 2004 and the Tamil Refugee Crisis of 2009. On both occasions, the involvement of local Rotarians was essential to the success of the deployment. The same is true this time round.

Rotarian and ShelterBox supporter, Supem De Silva with  a Sri Lankan army officer

Rotarian and ShelterBox supporter, Supem De Silva with a Sri Lankan army officer

 

The help of Rotarian, Supem De Silva and his colleagues has once again been invaluable. SRT member Derek Locke, himself a Rotarian, said,

‘Supem worked with ShelterBox in 2009 and is a dedicated Rotarian and humanitarian. Supem and indeed all of the Rotarians we have met here have gone above and beyond to help us facilitate and organise the distribution of aid to people who have either lost everything under the landslides, or are unable to return to their homes due to the risk of further tragedy. I think it is fair to say that without their help ShelterBox would be hard pushed to achieve a successful deployment of aid to the affected peopleSupem  of Sri Lanka. The relationship that we have with the Rotarians here and their selfless willingness to help us in any way they can is a positive example of a model of partnership between ShelterBox and Rotary.’

Stephanie Rodrigo, Past President of the Rotary Club of Capital City, Colombo concurred,

We have appreciated all the support given  by your great organisation, ShelterBox, in our need in 2009 and now. We Rotarians and your organisation has a very special bond. Our members are committed to serving during any disaster alongside ShelterBox to help the people of Sri Lanka

You can help families affected by disaster by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

Flooding Across Three South American Countries – ShelterBox Responds

Paraguay 26 June 2014. Piles of garbage and inadequate sanitation facilities add to the misery of families driven from their homes by weeks of torrential rain, which has led to the Paraguay and Parana Rivers bursting their banks. (Paraguay Red Cross).

Paraguay 26 June 2014. Piles of garbage and inadequate sanitation facilities add to the misery of families driven from their homes by weeks of torrential rain, which has led to the Paraguay and Parana Rivers bursting their banks. (Paraguay Red Cross).

As sports fans watched the World Cup final last week they’d be forgiven for not knowing that away from the perfect conditions of the Estadio do Maracana, large swathes of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay had been suffering from heavy rain storms and resulting flooding for much of June and July. These deluges displaced enough people to fill the Maracana stadium almost three times over, yet they have barely registered on international news. 

In Paraguay rainstorms began back in May causing rivers to overflow, particularly in the southwest of the country. By 12 June, as the first matches of the World Cup began in neighbouring Brazil, almost 160,000 people were feared to have been affected. Current estimates suggest that as many as 200,000 people have now been affected by the flooding in six different provinces. Similar scenes have also been witnessed in neighbouring Brazil and Argentina, but despite the intense media focus drawn by the World Cup these dramatic events were largely overlooked.

In June of this year ShelterBox sent a team to carry out assessments of the situation and to establish whether we could be of assistance to aid efforts. At the time the ShelterBox team encountered evacuation centres full to capacity, with further rain forecast.

Paraguay 9 July 2014. Estelvina Gonzales, mother of three, is one of 15 people living in a church along the embankments of Asunción. The roof of Estelvina's house can be seen behind her at the end of what was once a street. The water has reached the foundations of the church. When asked where her and her children will go, Estelvina told us that she did not know. (Liz Odell/ShelterBox).

Paraguay 9 July 2014. Estelvina Gonzales, mother of three, is one of 15 people living in a church along the embankments of Asunción. The roof of Estelvina’s house can be seen behind her at the end of what was once a street. The water has reached the foundations of the church. When asked where her and her children will go, Estelvina told us that she did not know. (Liz Odell/ShelterBox).

Continuing our commitment to assisting the region, ShelterBox currently has a response team in country including Todd Finklestone (US), Derek Locke (US) and Agnes Leder (DE). Although the rainstorms have since subsided the need for displaced families to be sheltered remains, and the ShelterBox response team is currently working with partner agencies that will assist in distributing aid early next week.

Thanks to the support of our donors, a shipment of shelter repair kits and other vital aid is due to arrive in Asuncion today to be distributed by the ShelterBox team and Paraguay Red Cross. The ShelterBox response team is also conducting assessments in nearby Argentina, working with local Rotary groups in the country. Over-crowded evacuation centres have become a reality for families affected by the flooding in Argentina too and so the ShelterBox team is looking into the viability of transporting and distributing aid alongside the ongoing operations in Paraguay.

Although responding to flooding across multiple countries within one region has caused logistical challenges, ShelterBox is committed to assisting the affected families and continues to try to find ways to deliver aid, in collaboration with other organisations, across Paraguay and Argentina.

You can donate here: PLEASE DONATE

Tents Needed in Nigeria to Replace Homes Lost in Flood

Flood water recedes slowly near Akinima, Rivers State, Nigeria

Flood water recedes slowly near Akinima, Rivers State, Nigeria

The ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) on the ground in Nigeria have continued their needs assessments in the flood stricken country, whilst awaiting the arrival of the first consignment of boxes. SRT members, Mike Greenslade (AUS) and Derek Locke (USA) flew south to Port Harcourt, in Rivers State, to meet with Rotary and local government contacts.

Mike said, “Many of the flood affected areas remain underwater and unseasonal daily rainstorms have only exacerbated the situation. Following a meeting the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Tele Ikuru, we were shown around some of the temporary camps in local schools. The displaced people are being well looked after but conditions are crowded. In Mbiama there were 1800 people sharing one school, in Akinima, another 1000.’
‘His Excellency said we have arrived at a critical time because many people are keen to move back to their land as soon as the water recedes. ShelterBox can provide a solution for those whose whose homes are badly damaged or completely destroyed, whilst they begin to rebuild their lives.”
Meanwhile, in Idah, Kogi State, preparations for the first ShelterBox camp are well underway. Derek reports, “We’ve been working closely with the local government Liaison Officers and are really pleased with progress on the first camp. Pit latrines have being dug and a bore hole drilled  for the provision of fresh water. We eagerly await the imminent arrival of our first boxes”
Local government workers prepare pit latrines at the ShelterBox camp site

Local government workers prepare pit latrines at the ShelterBox camp site

 

Team 2, comprising Ian Neal (UK) and Tom Newman (UK) have arrived safely in country and the handover process is well underway.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Australian Response Team Member Reports From Nigeria

Some of you may have noticed that I’m currently on deployment in Nigeria. Below is a copy our latest report from Lokoja, Kogi State.

SRT member Derek Locke (US) en route to assess displaced communities on the River Benue, Kogi State, Nigeria, November 2012.

SRT member Derek Locke (US) en route to assess displaced communities on the River Benue, Kogi State, Nigeria, November 2012. © Mike Greenslade/ShelterBox

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been assessing emergency shelter needs in Nigeria, which is currently suffering from the worst flooding in five decades that has forced thousands of families from their homes. 

As paperwork for the first consignment of ShelterBoxes has been finalised, SRT members Mike Greenslade (AU) and Derek Locke (US) have identified suitable sites in the flood-hit region to set up emergency shelter in Idah, Lokoja and the riverine village of Atakpa.

‘We are based in Lokoja, where the Niger and Benue rivers meet, a scene of the recent heavy flooding,’ said Mike. ‘Yesterday we made a journey by boat across the Niger to the River Benue to Atakpa, accompanied by the State Governor’s Special Advisor, General Onekpetu.

SRT Derek Locke consults with government officials and community leaders at Atakpa on the River Benue, Kogi State, Nigeria, November 2012.

SRT Derek Locke consults with government officials and community leaders at Atakpa on the River Benue, Kogi State, Nigeria, November 2012. Image:©Mike Greenslade/ShelterBox

‘The water level has dropped dramatically in the recent weeks, as is evident from the flood debris trapped some 10-15 feet in the trees, allowing some families to return to their homes. However, in Atakpa we found 85 families being hosted by the village in makeshift shelters, as their homes have been completely washed away.

‘Riverine communities rely on fishing to make a living and moving too far away from the river is out of the question. We plan to provide all the families with boxes and when they are able to, they will relocate with their tents, start rebuilding their homes and get back to fishing.’

Derek gives an insight to the problems the African country currently faces and explains the need for aid:

ShelterBox Responds to Flooding in Nigeria

IDPs outside a school in Koton Kafi, Kogi State where over 300 hundred families are sheltering having been displaced by severe floods that have left them homeless and destroyed their crops. Photo.Mike Greenslade

IDPs outside a school in Koton Kafi, Kogi State where over 300 hundred families are sheltering, having been displaced by severe floods that have left them homeless and destroyed their crops. Photo. Mike Greenslade

 

Over a million people have been displaced in the African country, where the worst flooding in 50 years has caused rivers to swell and forced families to flee their homes.

The rivers Niger and Benue are in full flood, bursting their banks and causing widespread devastation. The River Niger is the principal river in West Africa and the third longest in the continent. Nigeria receives heavy tropical rains each year between May and September but not usually on this scale. The flood has been exacerbated by the release of water from dams in neighbouring countries.

The rising flood water has led to the spread of infectious diseases. Furthermore many dangerous animals, such as crocodiles, snakes and hippos, are now making their way into family homes.

As well as damaging family homes, the flood waters have devastated crop fields, industrial areas and fisheries, prompting concerns over the economic future of the affected districts. The ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) arrived in Nigeria on 28 October and immediately began assessing the extent of the flooding.

SRT leader, Mike Greenslade (AU) reported: ‘The need is simply huge. Our contacts here in Kogi State estimate that there are more than 200,000 people affected by the flooding in the Idah district alone.’

‘There are currently 21 schools across the district being used to provide shelter for people who have had to leave their homes. However, this is only a temporary solution a chidden need to return to school to continue their education. Evacuating these schools will be our priority”

The SRT will be working with key partners, including the local Rotary network and State Governments, to deliver vital shelter and lifesaving supplies to the families affected by the flooding.

Peru’s First Lady Thanks ShelterBox for Support

Peru's First Lady Nadine Heredia with SRT volunteer Derek Locke (US) and local Rotarians, May 2012.

Peru’s First Lady Nadine Heredia with SRT volunteer Derek Locke (US) and local Rotarians, May 2012.

The First Lady of Peru, Nadine Heredia has thanked ShelterBox for supporting the Peruvian people at one of their greatest times of need, following extensive floods and widespread landslides across the country. 

Mrs Heredia arranged for a Peruvian Air Force cargo plane to transport ShelterBox aid from Lima to Iquitos in the north. A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is currently working in this area to assist those who have lost their homes in the floods caused by the Amazon River overflowing. She met with the team in the flood-hit town of Indiana.

SRT volunteers Chris Donald (UK) and Derek Locke (US) have been working with local Rotarians and locals hired by the Mayor of Indiana to erect tents and demonstrate box contents to aid recipients.

Read the full story here: PERU