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’

Australian SRT Member Returns From The Philippines

 

Australian SRT Member and Rotarian, Greg Moran from Inverell, NSW with a thankful family in Bantayan, Philippines

Australian SRT Member and Rotarian, Greg Moran from Inverell, NSW with a thankful family in Bantayan, Philippines

Australian SRT member and Rotarian, Greg Moran has recently returned from deployment in the Philippines, helping house victims of Super-Typhoon Haiyan. Greg, a civil engineer from Inverell NSW, has previously deployed to the Philippines as well responding to disasters in Indonesia, Turkey and Tasmania.

Greg worked with an SRT in and around Leyte and Bantayan, conducting needs assessments and distributing ShelterBox aid. Greg said of their work in Batayan,

“The eastern side of the island took the brunt of the damaging winds, so much of the aid was deployed there. There was a total of about 1300 tents and boxes that had been distributed mainly in the south and east of the island …… Sometimes the distance between locations or the distance to walk and carry the tents or boxes was quite long and it was hard work as most wanted their tents near their houses ……. It was very hot and humid and placing tents in individual locations was slow and time-consuming with lots of walking, and we really appreciated our work teams’ assistance, they were great workers and we told them so. They were long days, leaving early and always arriving home at our accommodation after dark. Our teams worked well together and with local teams and we left Bantayan on a positive note.”

ShelterBox continues to work in the affected areas of the Philippines and at present we have a further 2 Australian SRT members deployed there. We look forward to hearing from Peter Pearce and Anthony Keating when they return

Australian SRT Member Leads Rotary Team in PNG

Australian ShelterBox Response Team member, Greg Moran, from Inverell, NSW has just returned from Kokoda in Papua New Guinea where he led a team of rotarians helping to build a hospital. Earlier this year, Greg led a ShelterBox Response Team in Tasmania following the devastating bush fires. Here, is up to something a little different, you can read Greg’s report below.

Rotary volunteers and locals club together to build the new hospital

Rotary volunteers and locals club together to build the new hospital

“A group of nine volunteers, made up of members of three Rotary clubs and other volunteers, spent two weeks during late August and early September at Kokoda, Papua New Guinea. Led by Greg Moran from Inverell Rotary Club the main project was the commencement of a building to be used primarily as a Hospital Aids Clinic. Funding was provided by a private endowment to Rotary.

The group comprising Greg and Sue Moran, Phil Goddard, Lyn Eddie and Terry Cross from Inverell, Bob Swain, Richard Clarke and Arthur Hall from Warialda and Bob Missingham from Murwillumbah arrived in Port Moresby on 20th August and spent some time sight-seeing and visiting Bomana War Cemetery before flying to Popondetta the following day. With all the extra luggage (eight laptop computers and nine boxes) it was a challenge transporting it all and some overweight had to unfortunately be paid so that they could fly in PNG. They had a welcoming committee waiting for them at the airport and again at Kokoda Hospital when staff, locals and even the local member held an official welcome as well as decorating the accommodation with brightly coloured flowers.

Work progressed well on the AIDs clinic with the help of six local volunteers as well as five vocational students doing work experience. Bob Swain often worked late training locals with welding skills. The group initially threw their efforts into organising the work site, with foundations and footings being dug and concreted with steel foundations. This allowed the team to also work on footpaths, ramps and steps for the Clinic building while waiting for the delivery of the timber for the floor joists and bearers. When this timber was delivered the flooring and prefabricated walls were completed. Time was also found to complete maintenance on the main hospital replacing flywire and fixing roof leaks, some painting and the installation of three tanks on existing buildings that were completed on the previous trip.

A team of Rotarians from Inverell, Warialda and Murwillimbah have commenced building a Hospital in the remote Kokoda region of PNG

A team of Rotarians from Inverell, Warialda and Murwillimbah have commenced building a Hospital in the remote Kokoda region of PNG

The Rotary teams worked closely with the local workers and Tech students who learned a variety of skills from the team members from Australia. The team also learned a few skills from the locals as well, and the interaction and friendships between the groups was very evident when it was time for the team to return home. Fortuately the team had a kit of new power tools to carry out the building works thanks to the generosity of Bunnings, Inverell and Ozito tools, and the local workmen were most impressed when taught to use these tools.

While the men were involved in the building the two ladies in the team were involved in various teaching activities and the distribution of a large amount of donated items. Eight preloved laptop computers provided by Pam Vincent and Computerbank were used in computer lessons for hospital staff and other local professionals. Some people had more advanced training while the majority had no previous computer experience and were very excited to learn some valuable skills that could be used in their everyday work.

Concrete and steel foundations for the new hospital

Concrete and steel foundations for the new hospital, new skills are learned by the local volunteers.

Two donated electric sewing machines and a large amount of fabric had a number of ladies very excited with learning new skills. Each day they spent several hours learning to sew as well as producing shoulder bags, simple items of clothing and stuffed toys. As well as being able to make much needed items for their own families, they saw this as an opportunity for the future to produce items that they could sell at the local markets for much needed cash. Donated knitting needles and wool were used for knitting classes and the ladies loved the fact that they could knit items in their spare time.

A large quantity of children’s clothing made by Elsie McIlhenney was distributed to needy children. Many children in this area don’t possess any or very little clothing so were very excited to have lovely new clothes. Bras were collected by Moree Rotary Club and were very popular with the local ladies as it is difficult and expensive for them to buy these items. Lightning Ridge Rotary Club put together baby kits which are provided to mothers who give birth at the hospital. This is an incentive for the mothers to have their delivery at the hospital and has been proved to increase the survival rate for both mothers and babies. Red Cross donated some knitted teddy bears for the children in the hospital and these were very gratefully received by the children who have no other toys. They were also copied by the knitting ladies. As well, donated First Aid books and bandages were put to good use in the training and resourcing of village volunteers. A big thank you to everyone in Inverell and other towns who made it possible for the donation of all these items.

As well as working on these projects, the team had the opportunity for some recreation. This is the very scenic and iconic area of the Kokoda track, with brightly coloured flowers, green countryside and the majestic mountains of the Owen Stanley Range. The team spent a pleasant afternoon walking the first part of the Kokoda Track, visited Mamba Estate, originally the home of legendary Bert Kienzel, the man responsible for organizing the supply lines for the Kokoda Campaign and at the end of the two weeks away visiting Sanananda, site of some of the most ferocious fighting in PNG during the war when the Japanese were pushed off the island. The local landowners have built a traditional guest house next to the beach and treated the team to a traditional welcome, a beautiful meal and a night dance as well as demonstrating some of the aspects of their traditional lifestyle which has changed very little from that of their ancestors.

Overall, this was a very successful, rewarding and enjoyable experience for members of the team. There is always more work to do and it is intended that a further team will return to Kokoda early next year to complete this project.”

If you would like to find out about joining Rotary please visit: http://www.rotary.org.au

ShelterBox provides a great opportunity for international service for rotarians and non-rotarians alike. To find out more please visit: www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au

Latest news From the ShelterBox Response Team in Tasmania

Here are the latest reports from the ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) in Tasmania. Team Leader, Greg Moran from Inverell, NSW, gives an overview of the team’s activities plus an insight into the devastation caused by the fires and it’s affects on the community.

Only the stone chimneys of this property are left standing

Only the stone chimneys of this property are left standing

Monday 14th Jan was a full and  productive day as we started early and finally got home at about 9.00pm.

Today we had a meeting early with the manager of Housing Tasmania to discuss the potential numbers of displaced people from the Tasman peninsula who had lost their homes and all their goods who may want temporary accommodation in a ShelterBox tent. The meeting was very positive with the issue of registration and assessment being arranged .A ShelterBox was delivered to us from Launceston by District 9830 Rep,Bill Dobson and this was demonstrated to the people at Housing Tasmania. This Dept also gave us a locked storage to place a number of ShelterBoxes when they arrive in Hobart

The Director of Emergency Services for Tasmania in the Premier’s Dept asked us to attend a meeting in Dunally at 3pm to meet other cluster type people and aid organisers .We travelled through to Sorell and visited the registration and distribution centre for the area for those affected by the fires and spoke to them about ShelterBox , leaving literature, etc with them. They were quite impressed by the concept. We also had the opportunity to talk with the Mayor of Sorell, as he is heading up the relief and response efforts in Tasmania

We travelled on to Dunally and had to detour through Connallys Marsh as the road was cut with power lines down on the road .The devastation of the hills , properties and houses was amazing , with fire jumping over some paddocks to take a house out and the indiscriminate nature of the wild fire was frightening .Total devastation. All the power lines were down and sagged to road level . At least the pub survived and was certainly the centre of the town efforts and a much needed meeting place. The 3 pm meeting with all the main players gave us the opportunity to demonstrate ShelterBox as we had erected the tent just outside the pub and all were most interested. From not knowing much about Shelterbox, many people learned a lot about it and wanted brochures to spread the word .

The area outside the Dunally pub was a major meeting place and distribution and food centre for all those from the area affected, so it was a great place to erect and present the tent. We now know of a number of residents of this area that appear to genuinely need help.

SRT Scott Jarman (AU) is shown around the ruins of this lay's home

SRT Scott Jarman (AU) is shown around the ruins of this lay’s home

 Tuesday 15th Jan. Early start today as we headed out to Dunalley at 7.00 am to meet ABC reporters and attend a 9.30 am meeting of the support team for the response teams

We were put in touch with a couple of older ladies that had lost the lot and were in a bad way. We went with them and inspected their sites and realised how devastating it was for them to stand amongst the ashes of a lifetime of work and special memorabilia that meant so much to them. As we stated previously, it was amazing to see how indiscriminate the fire was as it hopped one house or paddock to get another. A stark reminder of how devastating it was  to see blackened chimneys standing with no building around them, how sad and demoralising .

The 9.30am meeting was purely organisational, as groups of volunteers were put together to form outreach teams to go out to the various areas to ascertain how the residents were going and if they needed any help or direction to assist them.

The neighbourhood community house was the next port of call and we spoke to the staff there to ascertain their function and if there had been any genuine needs cases come through the doors that really needed a ShelterBox .They do a great job for this small community and are an example of how rural people pull together and rarely seek outside assistance. We travelled from Dunalley to Murdunna, near to Eaglehawk Neck, to ascertain the damage sustained at this town .There was an enormous amount of damage seen as per the photos  and the community was getting right into it doing cleanup and whatever they could .The one major evident aspect is the amount of help occurring. Electricity lines and poles are down everywhere and crews and trucks from NSW, VIC, and SA are here to assist the repairs ,so are the numbers of volunteers on the ground just helping out ,a great effort with everyone pitching in .

The Tasmanian Govt. and Councils have contracted a company to carry out the cleanup at sites where houses have been burned down as it looks like a bomb has hit .Thick ash and tin plus burned possessions are strewn and the sites do need cleaning up especially if there is an asbestos presence. We are therefore finding it difficult to find locations to put up tents in most locations on residential blocks before the cleanup at each site is done, but we do have some takers that want a tent and box in the community area at the moment.

The outreach groups from yesterday may have some leads for us today as they were processing people and their needs and were going to advertise that we were present and put them in touch with us to ascertain their situation.

Response Team Assesses Need in Tasmania After Fires

Former Murrindindi Shire Mayor Lyn Gunter with SRT members Greg Moran (AU), Scott Jarman (AU) and Lynn Jarman (AU) in Dunalley, Tasmania's worst hit town by recent fires, January 2013.

Former Murrindindi Shire Mayor Lyn Gunter with SRT members Greg Moran (AU), Scott Jarman (AU) and Lynn Jarman (AU) in Dunalley, Tasmania’s worst hit town by recent fires, January 2013.

 

‘Residents had no time to flee as the fire came over the hills and swept through the town in under four minutes,’ said Dunalley’s Mayor Kerry Vincent, also a Rotarian, to a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) that has just arrived in the Tasmanian township recently damaged by the Australian bushfires. 

Dunalley is said to be the worst affected area in Australia’s southern state. SRT members and Rotarians Greg Moran (AU), Scott Jarman (AU) and Lynn Jarman (AU) are working with local Government and Tasmania’s State Emergency Service to assess the need and assist an estimated 150 households who have lost everything.

‘On entering the area, we witnessed the indiscriminate path of the fire noting that some areas of bush land and pastoral fields have been left untouched,’ said Scott. ‘But houses centered in the fields have been destroyed by embers reported as travelling some 15 kilometres and igniting on impact.

‘Fields and livestock destroyed’

‘In other areas electricity lines are burnt to the ground and fields and livestock are destroyed. Yet remarkably lone houses stand untouched unlike the numerous businesses and households in the town centre that now only have blackened remnants of chimneys to identify where homes used to stand.’

Local residents were very pleased to see ShelterBox’s immediate response after the reopening of the access roads into the fire-damaged area, one being former Murrindindi Shire Mayor Lyn Gunter. ShelterBox worked closely with her during the 2009 Victoria state Black Saturday bushfires that destroyed 1,300 homes.

‘The ShelterBox tents provided essential support for those in need during the crisis and they will once again be well-received by those that have lost everything to these recent blazes and need support to restart,’ commented Lyn Gunter.

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ShelterBox on Standby to Help in Tasmania and New South Wales

Victims of the deadly Victorian bush fires of 2009 received aid from ShelterBox

Victims of the deadly Victorian bush fires of 2009 received aid from ShelterBox

 

ShelerBox stands ready to respond to the devastating bush fires that have swept through south eastern Tasmania. The small communities of Dunalley and Boomer Bay have been almost completely destroyed and 126 properties burnt to the ground.

NSW-based ShleterBox Response Team (SRT) members Greg Moran and Scott Jarman are on standby to fly to Tasmania if required, with pre-positioned stock from Melbourne.

ShelterBox Australia Communications Officer, Mike Greenslade said, “We have been in touch with the State Emergency Service in Tasmania and made them aware of the resources we have on offer. Greg is coordinating efforts and has also contacted emergency management in New South Wales, where serious fires are sweeping the countryside and threatening homes. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported but our hearts go out to those who have lost property and livelihoods ”

In February 2009 Victoria was devestated by the countries worst ever bush fires.  Estimates suggest that around 900 homes were destroyed, leaving around 7,000 survivors registered for assistance with the Red Cross. 79 ShelterBoxes were successfully delivered to the fire-ravaged Whittlesea area.

Aussie SRT’s Story Featured in “Turkish News Weekly”

Reaching out to different communities within Australia’s diverse culture is an important part of raising awareness of the international work of ShelterBox. Last month, Sydney-based “Turkish News Weekly” published a story on our response to the earthquake that stuck Van in October last year, and the personal tale of Inverell SRT, Greg Moran’s involvement. Below is a copy of the story and a link to the original.

“On 23rd October 2011 a massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Southeast Turkey with it’s epicentre at the village of Tabanli, 20 kilometres north of Van city.  More than 2,000 buildings collapsed, 600 people were killed and thousands left homeless. An assessment team from international disaster relief organisation, ShelterBox was mobilised immediately and on the ground in Van in a matter of days. An urgent need for emergency shelter was immediately apparent, with many forced to sleep outside in freezing conditions. The Turkish Government made an official request for international assistance and the assessment team ordered in an initial 1,000 relief packages contained in the charity’s iconic green box.

As the name suggests, ShelterBox specialises in the provision of emergency shelter following natural and man-made disasters around the world. The cornerstone of the relief package is the Shelterbox Relief Tent, specially made by Scottish manufacturer, Vango. It can house up to 10 people, is fully waterproof and can withstand winds of up to 100 mph. Also in the box are thermal blankets, groundsheets, a stove, cooking utensils, water purification equipment and a children’s pack. Boxes can be packed at short notice to include other items needed dependent on conditions, (e.g. malaria resistant mosquito nets are sent to tropical areas). In response to the severe winter conditions in Turkey, sets of thermal hats, scarves and gloves were included and, for the first time, an insulating liner for the tent.

ShelterBox has 20 affiliate organisations around the world and has been active in Australia since 2003. Boxes are always accompanied by international Response Team members (or “SRTs”), volunteers whose job it is to ensure that aid gets to where it’s most needed.  Greg Moran, 58,  is one such Australian volunteer. A civil engineer from Inverell, NSW has been an SRT for 3 years and involved wth Shelterbox since 2005.  Below is an account of his work in and around the city of Van.

Aussie SRT, Greg Moran (far right)

“Shelterbox advised me regarding this deployment mid-morning on Wednesday 9th Nov and, amazingly, I was in Istanbul by 5.00am on Friday 11th. I met with the rest of team on day one. There were 3 Brits , 1 Canadian , 1 American and myself from Oz. The team dynamics were terrific and under the team leadership of Ian Neale , everyone got on well to achieve the desired outcome. By the end of the two-week period we had delivered almost 1400 ShelterBoxes.”

“This was going to be a different deployment for me, on a number of counts as it was approaching winter in Turkey and I had never experienced an earthquake or aftershocks before. Van was larger than I expected and the level of devastation was alarming, with building after building severely damaged, and all residents evacuated. At night, there were no lights in a large part of the city, a testament to the fact that so many people had moved out and gone to friends or relatives in other places. The damage in and around Van was not just physical. We found that the psychological effect on the residents was massive with so many people looking for tents or alternative accommodation, too afraid to enter their homes. What was most heart-wrenching was to see a line of men, stretching over a kilometre, waiting at the police compound in the falling snow, to have aid and tents delivered to them. They were cold and bedraggled, having waited for so long.

“There were people living and sleeping in cars and under tarps and their need was so great. We were assisted by the provincial government, The Red Crescent, Kitzaly, SES and the Turkish Army, whose professionalism shone through in their speed in creating a tent city from nothing in a matter of days. They were organised, prepared and magnificent in their operation. Both the army and the police assisted us greatly with road and air transport for the boxes and provided the team with a vehicle and security to move around with.”

“The team also worked in the mountainous hinterland to the north and the east of Van. These villagers had not received any aid whatsoever and were in great need. I was fortunate enough to travel to the villages of Golardi and Agarti to assist with ShelterBox distribution and to demonstrate how to erect the tents. The people of the villages were extremely grateful and hospitable and were moved that a team of people from the US, UK and Australia had come to assist them. The Imams and Muktas were also very grateful and ensured we had a meal and much tea before we were allowed to leave on the treacherous, narrow and snow covered road back to Van.”

“It was indeed a moving deployment, but one where much was achieved, not only with the distribution of 1400 tents to help people survive, but also in surmounting barriers and building bridges of friendship with the local people, letting them know the rest of the world does care about their plight.”

ShelterBox has responded to over 20 disasters this year, with Australian SRTs active in 10 of them. ShelterBox relies entirely on donations from the public and the support of Rotary International. You can help ShelterBox continue it’s important work around the world by visiting www.shelterboxaustralia.com.au and making a donation or phoning 1300 996 038

To see the original article go to Turkish News Weekly