Mock disaster relief zone in Birmingham
Mock disaster relief zone in Birmingham

Members of the public will be able to see what it is like to experience a humanitarian crisis when Centenary Square in Birmingham is turned into a mock disaster relief zone from 11-13 April. The display has been organised by Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland (RIBI and disaster relief charity ShelterBox, to mark RIBI’s 89th Annual Conference.

Visitors to the zone will see demonstrations of the vital emergency shelters and supplies that are sent to people in countries ravaged by natural disasters.

Amanda Watkin, Secretary at RIBI Headquarters in Alcester said: “Thousands of people donate money to support victims of natural disasters, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines last November. Rotary clubs throughout Great Britain and Ireland collected over £2m in the weeks following the disaster, much of which was allocated to survival box projects such as ShelterBox. The emergency aid typically includes specially designed tents, water filtration kits, blankets, solar lighting and cooking utensils.”

In the tented disaster response zone outside the ICC, Rotary club members and volunteers from ShelterBox who have visited disaster areas will be talking about their experiences, whilst members of the King Edwards Five Ways School Interact Club will be demonstrating the contents of the boxes to show how the money raised is being spent.

Amanda continued: “The water filtration equipment in particular is fascinating. We will have live demonstrations to show people how this works and prove how effective it is. Children’s activity packs are also included in ShelterBoxes, to help bring some normality to disaster situations. Emergency aid isn’t just about helping in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, it is a long term commitment. We hope that by setting up this mock disaster relief zone we can educate and inspire more people about the work that Rotary clubs do and get them involved.”

RIBI’s 89th three day annual conference includes a keynote speech from Sarah Brown, wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who will be talking about the importance of education in the developing world.

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- Ken Robertshaw, Rotary Club of Halifax

Ken Robertshaw, Rotary Club of Halifax
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