The Club actively supports ShelterBox which provides emergency shelter and vital supplies to support communities around the world affected by disaster and humanitarian crisis. Communities who, often with no warning, lose their homes, their possessions and their livelihoods and every day are faced with a battle for survival.
ShelterBox was founded in 2000 in the small town of Helston in Cornwall, UK and the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard adopted it as its millennium project. Little did they know that it would become a major player in the field of international disaster relief. The first consignment of 143 boxes was sent to earthquake victims in the Indian state of Gujarat in January 2001. Over the next three years the project matured and by the end of 2004 nearly 2,600 boxes had been dispatched, following 16 major disasters. The devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami changed ShelterBox forever as donations and volunteers poured in and they were able to ramp up operations on a scale unimaginable just six months earlier sending out more than 22,000 boxes, almost 10 times the number sent out in the previous three years. ShelterBox has now responded to hundreds of disasters and humanitarian crises - earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, landslides, typhoons and conflict - in almost 90 different countries and provided emergency aid for millions of people. Recent deployments can be seen in ShelterBox in Action - link in side menu. Delivery of the boxes is made by whatever means possible.
The global support from the Rotary network is the cornerstone that ShelterBox is built on.
|ShelterBox state "Rotary has been instrumental in our growth and Rotarians are the cement that binds us together. The fundraising efforts by Rotarians make up a significant proportion of donations received by ShelterBox. Alongside this, Rotary Clubs provide invaluable logistical support to our field operations. Rotarians will often be the people who ensure aid can be delivered into a country by acting as consignees and more often than not, it will be Rotarians who are the first point of contact for the ShelterBox Response Team members when they arrive in a country that has been devastated by a disaster. They provide everything from logistical support, translators, local knowledge to a bed to sleep in".|
ShelterBox have several options for relief.
ShelterBox contents are tailored to each disaster but typically contain a disaster relief tent for a family of 10, thermal blankets and groundsheets, water storage and purification equipment, solar lamps, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, mosquito nets and a children's activity pack. For colder countries winterised aid is included of more blankets and groundsheets and a thermal liner that fits between the inner and outer layers of the tent retaining more heat. In any disaster a large number of people without shelter will inevitably be children. Schools will often have been destroyed along with homes and other buildings so SchoolBoxes can be included which contain essential supplies for teachers, including blackboard paint and chalk, along with school equipment for 50 children. A donation of £590 currently funds a complete box, £230 for a single tent and £55 for thermal blankets.
They have recently introduced Shelter Kits the contents of which in the wake of a disaster families can use to make quick, easy and temporary repairs to their damaged homes - providing immediate shelter from the elements thus saving lives. It is not a replacement for a ShelterBox, it's an alternative; the tools and tarpaulin make it easier for families to repair their damaged homes, so they can move back in quicker. Costing £35 it can reach people and places a ShelterBox can't.
A kit contains: two sheets of heavy duty tarpaulin - to restore walls or roofs; rope - to make shelters secure and stable; hoe – to prepare the ground and later be used for farming; tin snips - to cut tie wire or tin roofing plates; handsaw - to enable people to use timber or bamboo if it's available; 500g worth of roofing nails with washers to seal out rain; shovel - to can prepare foundations for a shelter or dig drainage ditches; 1kg of timber nails -to secure and make fast the new settlement; 500g tie wire - to fix tarpaulins or bamboo structures and a claw hammer - another universal tool for nailing together a home.
Since 2006, The Rotary Club of Belfast has donated funds providing for over 100 Boxes and Shelterkits etc. helping over 1000 people for which ShelterBox are extremely grateful and in 2010 awarded the Club a Bronze Award for the level of continued support. They have written to the Club "There are no words to convey the feeling of seeing a family move in to their ShelterBox tent or the relief of knowing they now have the equipment they need to begin rebuilding their lives. All I can say is thank you."
The Club thanks all members who have contributed in any way.