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 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.