Whenever disaster strikes, Rotary responds quickly. To keep helping people in need, funds are continually required to build supplies of Rotary relief boxes, including Water Survival Box, Aquabox, ShelterBox and Disaster Aid UK. Full details of these and many more box projects can be found on the Box Projects page along with contact information.
This ability to respond rapidly is part of what makes Rotary a valued and trusted organisation. Every penny donated to a Rotary club will go to the stated cause. Thanks to the global network of Rotary clubs and wealth of expertise, life-saving supplies can be distributed right to the heart of recovery operations.
Read on and find out where Rotary has been in action:
Disaster updates from November 2013
Outbreaks of Polio in Syria are causing concern to the WHO as they fear it could spread throughout the region. Cases have now been reported in Lebanon but here immunisation can take place to prevent the spread.
A 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck in Iran's southeastern Bushehr province on 28 Nov 2013, killing seven people and injuring 203. 200 houses were damaged in Borazjan town and Dehghayd village. 1,520 people were sheltered in 20 camps.
Seasonal rains started at the end of September 2013 across Somalia, contributing to flooding, especially in and around Jowhar town in Middle Shabelle region, where flooding had already started in mid-August due to rains in the Ethiopian highlands, the source of the Shabelle River....
On the evening of 14 Nov, the tropical storm 15 weakens into tropical depression and hit the south-central provinces of Viet Nam, bringing heavy rainfall and strong winds. From 14 November at 7 PM to 17 November at 7 PM, the coastal areas from Quang Tri to Ninh Thuan and the Central Highlands have been hit by torrential rain.
Somalia: Tropical Cyclone
A tropical cyclone made landfall on the Somali coast on 10 Nov 2013. The Puntland authorities declared a natural disaster emergency on 11 Nov, citing very heavy rainfall and flash floods leading to an estimate of more than 100 casualties and large-scale livestock deaths....
The devastation caused to parts of the Philippines has been watched by everyone on TV and the areas will need help for many months to come. The response by Rotary Clubs across RIBI has been wonderful and many messages of thanks have been received from Clubs and individuals in the affected areas.
Disaster updates as of 12th November 2013
Philippines - Typhoon Haiyan
Biggest storm in history hits the Philippines. The RIBI International Committee has spoken to all the 4 Disaster Box schemes and can report that Shelter Box already have a team on the ground in the Philippines and are utilising boxes in the country with more being shipped. Aquabox, Disaster Aid UK and Ireland, and Water Survival Box have all received requests for help. For immediate response please support these four box schemes.
In addition, donations to the “RIBI Donation Trust” can be sent to Alcester and this money will be allocated by the Trustees to suitable projects that will bring help to those affected by the storm. Please remember that some of our box schemes are also working hard to support the Syrian refugees and therefore their funding is under considerable pressure.
Disaster updates as of October 2013
The situation in and around Syria continues to deteriorate with refugees now being turned away from the border with Jordan. The report of outbreaks of Polio in Northern Syria is causing great concern to the WHO and Rotary as it is impossible to get teams into the area to carry our imunisation.
Since late July 2013, Thailand has been facing sporadic flooding, mainly in the north and north-eastern provinces. From late September, seasonal rainfall was further exacerbated by the combined impact of several tropical storms resulting in climatic depressions over Thailand that led to heavy rainfall in many provinces throughout the country. By early October, 45 of 76 provinces were affected by floods, with 25 provinces considered severely affected. The reported death toll from these floods has risen to 61 people, and more than 3.5 million are affected.
A major emergency response operation is underway in central Philippines following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol Island on 15 Oct 2013. It was felt across the Central Visayas region (population of 6.8 million) and is the strongest earthquake that hit Bohol in nearly 25 years. There have been at least 2,500 aftershocks since the first powerful earthquake and 64 of them were strong enough to be felt. A total of 195 people died, 651 are injured and 12 still missing. The earthquake caused landslides and extensive damage to housing, hospitals, schools, infrastructure and utilities, with more than 53,300 houses severely damaged or destroyed.
Burkina Faso Floods
Since August 2013, severe floods have been reported in many countries across the Sahel. In Burkina Faso, four regions have been affected: Est, Boucle de Mouhoun, Sahel and Hauts-Bassins. At least 751 homes and 6,712 people have been affected.
Disaster updates as of September 2013
Pakistan: Earthquakes - Sep 2013
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Balochistan province in southwest Pakistan on 24 Sep 2013, causing at least 348 deaths and affecting over 300,000 people. Awaran and Kech districts have been hit the hardest, with 21,000 houses reportedly damaged and the communication system disrupted in the remote areas.
Mauritania: Floods - Sep 2013
Since early August 2013, heavy rains have been affecting several regions in Mauritania. While some areas are experiencing 65 per cent less rainfall than average, others have seen increases as high as 35 per cent, causing floods that affected households, infrastructure and livelihoods. The most affected regions are Tagant, Trarza, Inchiri and Nouakchott.
Typhoon Usagi - Sep 2013
Affected countries: Cambodia, China, China - Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region), China - Taiwan Province, Philippines, Viet Nam,
Typhoon Usagi struck the Philippines on 21 Sep 2013 in the southern part of Itbayat Island, one of the three main islands of the Batanes group of islands, affecting almost 48,000 people and causing severe damage to agriculture. It brought heavy rains to southern Taiwan, where some 3,400 people were evacuated, before making landfall in southern China near Hong Kong on 22 Sep...
Central African Republic: Floods - Sep 2013
On 3-4 Sep 2013, heavy rains that lasted for hours caused flooding in several areas of the 3rd district of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Of a total population of 90,000 people, almost 33,000 were affected. 337 families had their houses damaged or destroyed. About 30 per cent of them have found refuge with host families, while the remaining families are living out in the open. Almost all the wells and latrines in these areas were damaged by flood waters.
Romania: Flash Floods - Sep 2013
Heavy rainfall starting on 12 Sep 2013 and lasting for more than 48 hours has caused flash floods in a number of counties and many villages in several municipalities in Romania. The most affected municipalities are situated in the counties of Galati
Disaster updates as of September 2013
Syrian Crisis - 4th Sept 2013
The news each day carries more horrendous details of what is now the worst humanitarian crisis of this century.
It is in the nature of Rotarians to want to help, not only in the sustainable long term but in the immediate short term so that people can survive to rebuild their lives.
For further information on what RIBI are doing assist in the crisis, please click on the link in the related documents below.
Syrian Crisis - 1st Sept 2013
The Syrian Crisis continues to deteriorate with many more people fleeing the country to live in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. While some of the countries are dangerous to work in Aid Agencies are doing all they can to assist.
Philippine Island of Luzon - Typhoon Utor
Typhoon Utor wreaked havoc in Luzon, one of the largest Philippine islands, two weeks ago. The storm has not only displaced thousands of people but also damaged infrastructure including hospitals, affecting much needed medical services, particularly in the Aurora Province.
Disaster update as of August 2013
Sudan: Flash Floods - Aug 2013
An estimated 98,500 people have been affected by heavy rain and flash floods in several areas of Sudan between 1-4 Aug 2013. The floods have killed 11 people and destroyed or damaged more than 14,000 houses. Khartoum and River Nile are the worst affected states.
Afghanistan: Flash Floods - Aug 2013
On 3 Aug 2013, heavy rains resulted in flash floods and high water levels in 13 villages in Surobi district of Afghanistan's Kabul province. As of 4 Aug, according to the DDA and IOM and based on an assessment of six villages, 42 people have died (23 confirmed deaths by IOM), 426 houses were destroyed.
Pakistan: Floods - Aug 2013
Heavy monsoon rains have triggered flash floods across Pakistan, claiming the lives of at least 80 people and displacing hundreds since 1 Aug 2013. The rains have also ravaged thousands of acres of standing crops and caused colossal damage to houses and infrastructure.
Syrian Crisis – Aug 2013
Shelterbox are working to pack boxes with winter equipment to send out to the Lebanon ready to help Syrian refugees as winter approaches.
Aquabox have sent 500 Aquaboxes into the Lebanon for use in Refugee camps set up for Syrian refugees.
India/Nepal: Floods and Landslides - June 2013
Early monsoon rains have caused massive flooding and landslides in northern India's Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh states and Nepal since mid-June 2013, affecting tens of thousands of people. In India, more than 1,056 people are reported to have lost their life and hundreds are still missing. ShelterBox have a team in the area assessing the situation but because of the import duty on Aid into India they have not as yet sent in any aid.
Ecuador – June 2103
As of June 2013, Ecuador’s southern region has gone for four months without rain, with Loja being the most affected province. The provincial economy is completely based on agricultural and livestock. The drought has caused losses in corn, peanut, and bean crops and there is a high scarcity of food...
Disaster update as of end of April
The following refers to Shelterbox activities, the involvement of other Rotary related charities will be included as details become known.
Pakistan – earthquake
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the border regions between Iran and Pakistan on 16 April. 576 Shelterbox tents have been sent to the Pakistan side of the border to Mashkail Balochistan using prepositioned stock in the country.The aid is still en route to the affected area due to the extreme isolation of it.
Lebanon – Syrian refugees – conflict
Work continues by ShelterBox has been working with the Ministry of Social Affairs to provide 700 boxes containing winterised kit. They have cleared customs and at various distribution hubs where multiple implementing partners are undertaking discrete micro distributions to Syrian refugee families. Due to the complex and dynamic environment of Lebanon at the moment distributions have slowed, but still continue where possible.
Myanmar – conflict
Recent conflict has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and displaced an estimated 80,000. With the rainy season set to begin in May the situation for internally displaced persons (IDPs) could deteriorate. Due to the high security situation, ShelterBox is working with ACTED who are in the process of distributing ShelterBoxes to IDPs in Kachin State on ShelterBox's behalf.
Disaster update as of end February 2013
Northern part of Lebanon on the Syrian border
Since the conflict began in Syria, this isolated area has been hosting higher relative concentrations of refugees than almost anywhere else in Lebanon. They have received very little humanitarian assistance from the outside and the winter has only compounded the hardships they face daily with high snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.
Syrian refugees. Many not yet registered with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as a result they are receiving no official help as they are not recorded as refugees. They live in a one-room makeshift tent that they built themselves. Located high in the mountains of the Bekaa Valley where by four o'clock in the afternoon the temperature is already below zero as a freezing fog descends.
Jordan, Turkey and Iraq
On-going violence in Syria over the past 15 months has caused a significant number of refugees to flee across the border to neighbouring countries Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
Tropical Cyclone Haruna made landfall over the south-west coast of Madagascar as a powerful Category 2 Tropical Cyclone. Thousands of people have been displaced and crops have been destroyed.
A Shelter Box Response Team (SRT) has met with the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) to find a suitable way to support families displaced by the Kachin conflict in the north of the country.
The conflict is one of many collectively referred to as the Burmese Civil War. Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and Myanmar Army restarted in June 2011 after a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down and continued throughout last year.
Disaster update as of the end of January 2013
The salient disasters assisted are:
Philippine island of Mindanao – typhoon damage
Syria – civil war continues to escalate
Jordon – response to the Syrian refugee crisis
Disaster update as of the end of December 2012
Flooding in the UK, a super typhoon in the Philippines and a cyclone in Fiji.
After a week of heavy rains the skies continued to pour down on already-saturated ground over the weekend in Cornwall, a county in southwest England, causing rivers to burst their banks flooding many towns and villages.
ShelterBox assisted the Emergency Services with rescue efforts by coordinating evacuations in Lostwithiel, where over 200 residents were told by police to evacuate their homes.
Meanwhile ShelterBoxes have arrived in southern Philippines where two ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs) have been helping families made homeless by Super typhoon Bopha that hit earlier this month.
The country’s emergency management agency says Bopha is the strongest and deadliest storm to hit the Asian country this year with over 800 people still missing and 1.2 million families displaced.
Cyclone Evan t left behind a trail of widespread destruction; particularly on the main island Viti Levu in the towns of Lautoka and Nadi.
‘The destruction this cyclone has caused is beyond words,’ said Lautoka resident Melaia Waisele to Sky News
Disaster Update - December 2012
An intense typhoon has carved a path of destruction through the Philippines leaving many families in desperate need.
Typhoon Bopha struck northern Palawan with winds of 120 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour. Coastal, farming and mining regions were affected by the typhoon with Compostela Valley province, in eastern Mindanao, thought to have been the hardest-hit area. It is estimated that around 70 per cent of the region’s agricultural land has been damaged.
Many regions remain isolated due to power outages, lack of communications and damaged roads and bridges. Thousands of people are reported to be in need of temporary shelter having lost their homes to the typhoon.
Disaster Aid International has volunteer DARTs (Disaster Aid Response Team members) on the ground with survival boxes and other resources. Initially, 100 family survival boxes and a similar number of LifeBoxes will be deployed in the area devastated by Typhoon Bopha (Pablo), with the objective to set up two communities. The first assessment will also determine needs for school, water and emergency lighting.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is returning from Haiti after two weeks of assessing the need for emergency shelter and working with partners to coordinate distributions across the country.
Liaising with Handicap International, SRT members James Webb (UK) and Josh Mohr (US) recently travelled to Fond Verrettes, an area near the Dominican Republic border, where an entire town was covered in rubble after Hurricane Sandy caused a flash flood that tore it apart.
‘The damage caused was unimaginable,’ said James. ‘The lower level of the town was under at least a foot of rubble, resulting in hundreds of homes being destroyed or damaged.’
ShelterBox is working tirelessly to provide life-saving shelter and equipment to families fleeing the ongoing violence in Syria.
Hurricane Sandy has affected millions of people throughout the Caribbean, United States and Canada. Find out more about the storm and how you can help.
Disaster Update as of the end of October 2012
Over a million people have been displaced in the African country where the worst flooding in 50 years has caused rivers to swell and forced families to flee their homes.
The River Niger and its tributaries are amongst those now overflowing as a result of the flash flooding. The River Niger is the principal river in West Africa and the third longest in the continent. Nigeria receives heavy tropical rains each year between May and September but not usually on this scale.
The rising flood water has led to the spread of infectious diseases. Furthermore many dangerous animals, such as crocodiles, snakes and hippos, are now making their way into family homes.
As well as damaging family homes, the flood waters have devastated crop fields, industrial areas and fisheries, prompting concerns over the economic future of the affected districts.
Northern Iraq, the Domiz refugee camp near Duhok
The camp which is located 60 kilometres from the Syria/Iraq border has seen a huge influx of families arriving each day since conflict erupted in Syria. The Kurdistan region of Iraq continues to welcome Syrian Kurdish refugees but concerns are now growing over the imminent threat of winter weather to these refugee camps.
In a statement on Tuesday 23 October Kurdish Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa stated that: "This is an international crisis and it is affecting the entire Middle East and the broader region. There are already many shortages but these will become much more critical as winter sets in."
Disaster Updated - 30th August 2012
Reports say it is the worst flooding seen for nearly 100 years in the West African country.
At the beginning of August, rains moved north from Burkina Faso to Niger, falling over one day in the mountains in the north and running down into the southern region of Dosso.
A week later, up to 227 millimetres of rain fell overnight, which is half a year's rainfall. The water ran through tributaries into the River Niger causing severe flooding in the regions of Tillabery in the north and the capital Niamey, flooding the city's suburbs.
The United Nations (UN) reported that the Dosso region has been worst affected, with over 10,000 homes damaged by floodwaters.
Tropical Storm Isaac is travelling fast across the Caribbean having hurtled over the smaller islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Dominica, forcing some flights to be cancelled and some businesses to close, but not causing any damage.
With it now strengthening and heading towards the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts that it will become a hurricane.
'Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,' the NHC advised.
A hurricane warning has been issued for Haiti as Isaac draws closer, bringing with it an estimated 51 centimetres (20 inches) of rain and strong winds.
With Haiti still recovering from the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010, Isaac is a real threat, especially as an estimated 400,000 Haitians are still living in makeshift shelters and tents.
Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries and its geographic location makes it one of the Caribbean's most disaster-prone countries; with its high poverty level, the island has always battled to cope with the aftermath of natural disasters.
Landslides and flash flooding are common in this half of Hispaniola due to deforestation. The situation became more serious after the earthquake over two years ago.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is calling Mali's situation a 'complex emergency,' which has displaced over 435,000 people.
Food insecurity in the Sahel region has been increasing annually due to crops failing because of lack of rainfall as well as a growing locust threat. With this and the droughts in the United States and Russia, food prices have rocketed, affecting over four million Malian people.
Ongoing conflict and political instability in Mali does not help this already difficult situation.
The nomadic Tuaregs, who are considered an indigenous tribe in the region, have long called for the creation of an independent state and have risen up against the Malian government numerous times since the 1960s.
At the time of Mali's general elections in January this year, many heavily armed Tuareg fighters arrived from Libya, where they had been fighting for Colonel Muammar Gadaffi. Many reports said they brought with them weapons from Gadaffi's regime and began attacking towns in northern Mali.
The Tuaregs now have the Timbuktu region and other areas in the north, which has forced thousands of families to flee into neighbouring countries, including Niger.
There are also armed Islamist groups that are acting under the aegis of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) who have occupied further parts of northern Mali, causing further civil unrest.
Disaster Update - 14th July 2012
Uganda - Up to 400,000 people may require emergency shelter in Uganda's mountainous east due to continuing heavy rains and mudslides that could force them to flee their homes.
South Sudan - Communities have been torn apart in South Sudan following border tensions with its neighbouring country the Republic of Sudan. Families that had been living together for decades north of the border before South Sudan gained independence a year ago have fled their homes over the conflict. Refugee camps are filling up and many are still homeless with nowhere to go.