When disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons or floods occur around the world, Rotary is quick to respond through our support for survival kits such as ShelterBox (see here) and Aquabox, which provide the basic essentials required in an emergency situation.
In a disaster the lack of, or disruption to, a safe water supply or sanitation creates an ideal breeding ground for water-borne disease notably diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid. Aquabox plays a vital part in minimising these after-effects of disaster by sending Single Box kits to support whole families in disaster zones.
The Club actively collects for Aquaboxes - A donation of £120 funds an Aquabox Gold and £250 a Community Aquabox. The Club has filled and dispatched nearly 100 Aquaboxes and our thanks go to all who helped us with by donating directly taking part in fund-raising activities.
What's in a box?
Once the welfare contents have been removed, it will provide sufficient drinking and general washing water for a family of six for well over a year by providing over 18,000 litres of potable water that's enough for a family of five, including general hygiene water for at least 18 months.
Community Aquabox - a robust plastic tank filled with a special filter capable of generating up to 500,000 litres of drinking water from the local contaminated water sources. This is enough basic drinking water for 100 families of 5 (500 people) for well over a year and half; over 500 tonnes of drinking water.
Aquabox was initiated by a Rotary Club - the Rotary Club of Wirksworth UK - which, in 1990, was providing assistance to disaster areas by dispatching plywood boxes filled with emergency supplies.
The club identified an opportunity to extend the use of the relief boxes by constructing them out of stronger materials.
In addition to its original packaging purpose, the new, plastic box could be also used for storage, furniture, etc. and, with the addition of a tap and purification system, could be used to create drinking water from polluted supplies. Finally launched in October 1992 AQUABOX operates in UK, Australia and Canada.
Since then over 95,000 boxes have been despatched to many affected areas following disasters equating in 5milliom litres of safe drinking water; the devastating tsunamis in Banda Aceh, Sri Lanka and Samoa, earthquakes in Haiti and Indonesia, as well typhoons in Philippines. Unfortunately, however, there is a growing need for disaster relief. With its Rotary connections Aquabox has gained valuable insight into how to effectively and efficiently to dispatch these much‐needed supplies with the assistance of local aid agencies and Rotary Districts.
In October 2010 President Brian accepted a challenge to lose weight for Aquabox. PPs Arthur Boyd, David Boyd and Bryan Johnston 'volunteered' to support him in the challenge. Club members sponsored them per lb lost! At their final "weigh-out" at the end of January 2011 a total of 29lbs had been lost which represents a generous donation to Aquabox.
Inner Wheel generously supported Belfast Rotary Club in this their 80th Anniversary Year 2011, by purchasing one and filling almost two Aquaboxes. We are deeply grateful to President Ann and her members. Through Rotary's partnership with the Methodist Container Ministry, those boxes were "on their way" within a few days of their collection from Inner Wheel.