By Ellina Kushnir, RI Programs staff
When disaster strikes, our partner ShelterBox often works closely with Rotarians to evaluate local needs and devise a plan for immediate response. The Rotary family provides vital assistance to ShelterBox Response Teams by helping with disaster assessments, housing response team volunteers, and helping coordinate relief logistics. Over the past twelve years, Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Interactors have partnered with ShelterBox to help communities in dire need of assistance immediately following a disaster:
- When the April 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, Rotaractors and Rotarians quickly connected with ShelterBox to assess damage and mobilize emergency relief teams. The Rotary family in Nepal and around the world has been instrumental in helping ShelterBox with logistics, transportation, housing Response Teams, and sponsoring emergency shelter tents and relief kits.
- In December 2014, Malaysia was devastated by heavy flooding. A response team was deployed to the country after Rotaractor James Ong, a member of ShelterBox Malaysia, contacted ShelterBox for assistance. James was instrumental in arranging response logistics from greeting response team members at the airport to arranging transportation for the teams’ operations. James helped translate and interpret key information from Malay to English and assisted with box distributions in Pahang State. James and fellow Rotaractors worked with PDG Khoo Boo Khean to mobilize a District 3300-wide response coalition of Rotarians and Rotaractors to assist with the month-long deployment.
- Last May, following flooding and landslides in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, ShelterBox Response Teams, alongside Rotarians and local agencies, provided vital aid to the most vulnerable communities in both countries.
- In November 2013, the largest storm to make landfall struck the Philippines. Because local Rotary clubs members were able to quickly assess destruction severity, ShelterBox deployed a response team with relief equipment within 48 hours of the disaster. Rotarian Stephen Castillo from Cebu City, Philippines, helped ShelterBox with warehouse and logistics during the deployment.
In addition to distributing transitional housing resources, ShelterBox also provides SchoolBoxes with educational materials to mitigate disruption in education as teachers continue working with students while communities are rebuilt. ShelterBox works with a variety of implementing partners and fellow relief organizations to ensure necessary aid including medical care, food assistance, and permanent housing is included in recovery initiatives:
- Since conflict first broke out in Syria four years ago, more than 10 million people have been displaced with four million seeking refuge in other countries. ShelterBox is working with implementing partners including Hand in Hand for Syria to distribute needed aid, including shelter kits, tents, mosquito nets, water filters, water carriers, blankets, groundsheets, SchoolBoxes, and solar lamps.
- Rebuilding and Recovering: Serving with Rotary in the Wake of a Disaster webinar recording
- Relief and recovery efforts in Nepal
- “Thank you” from ShelterBox
- ShelterBox and Rotary work together to assist flood-hit communities in the Balkans
- Providing shelter and hope in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan
- Father, sons summit Kilimanjaro to aid typhoon survivors