At the Thursday meeting of Hickory Rotary Club, past Assistant District Governor and Lake Hickory Rotarian, Bill Loehr presented an update on Rotary’s support of ShelterBox. ShelterBox is an international relief charity that provides immediate assistance to people affected by disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, flooding, hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis, or conflict. ShelterBox has responded to more than 200 natural disasters and humanitarian crises in 90 countries, providing aid for well over one million people.
ShelterBox was founded in 2000 by Rotarian Tom Henderson in Helston, England. ShelterBox grew from one Rotary Club’s Centennial Project to the largest global Rotary Club project in the history of Rotary. In 2012 ShelterBox became Rotary International’s first project partner. This agreement enables both organizations to collaborate more closely to bring relief and temporary shelter to survivors of disasters worldwide. The project partnership has built on both organization’s strengths in responding to disasters all over the world.
The ShelterBox solution in disaster response is as simple as it is effective. ShelterBox delivers the essentials a family needs to survive in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Their goal is to help 50,000 families who lose everything in a disaster every year. Each ShelterBox supplies an extended family with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.
A ShelterBox contains all the life-saving equipment necessary to sustain ten individuals. The standard ShelterBox weighs 120 lbs. and has approximate dimensions of 33″ x 24″ x 22″. They are sealed and banded for transit and security. Box contents vary depending on the nature of the disaster requiring their use. Depending on the location and nature of the disaster the contents of a typical box may vary but each box typically contains:
- Shelter – disaster relief tent
- Warmth – thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets
- Protection – water purification, mosquito nets if necessary
- Tools – hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters
- Wood burning or multi-fuel stove
In 2014 seven deployments have occurred: Serbia (flooding), Bosnia and Herzegovina (flooding), Chile (wildfire), Bolivia (flooding), Zimbabwe (flooding) and Indonesia (volcano/flooding). Ongoing deployments are in Lebanon (conflict), Syria (conflict) and the Philippines (typhoon Haiyan).
The Hickory Rotary Club has sponsored three ShelterBoxes to date:
- April, 2005: Box # 767 was sent to the Tsunami Disaster
- January, 2008: Box # 4166 was shipped to Nakura, Kenya
- September, 2009: Box # 5987 went To Sumatra
To learn more view or to donate visit www.shelterboxusa.org.