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Global disaster relief efforts continue

03/03/2011
ShelterBox is currently helping families affected by disasters in Madagascar and New Zealand while a further ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is due to arrive in Bolivia later on today.

400 ShelterBoxes have been sent to Madagascar after Cyclone Bingiza wreaked havoc across the island. SRT members Sallie Buck (UK) and David Webber (UK) are working with the National Disaster Management Authority (BNGRC) and the Madagascan Red Cross to ensure the effective delivery of aid. They will be delivering aid in the island’s south where the worst affected areas are.

‘People have lost their homes, possessions, animals, food supply and crops,’ said Sallie Buck. ‘It’s the worst flooding for 20 years and it’s likely to take a year for the waters to subside. The people we’re helping were without food and shelter for nearly five days after the flooding but they are remarkably resilient.’

Another two SRT members, Peter Pearce (AU) and Marie Mariotte (FR), will travel to Madagascar next week to help coordinate the distribution of boxes.

Bolivia

ShelterBox is also responding to widespread flooding in the South American country of Bolivia where a national emergency has been declared.

Weeks of heavy rain in Bolivia have triggered widespread flooding and landslides which have killed 50 people and left thousands homeless. SRT members Jon Chalcraft (UK), Joe Cannon (UK), Rikke Jacobsen (DK) and Keith Henderson (US) are en route to the country and will be working with the local Rotary network to establish the areas of greatest need.

Experts say the La Niña weather phenomenon, linked to abnormally cool ocean temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific, could be to blame for the floods. It is the same phenomenon which caused massive floods through large swathes of Colombia, where 1,600 ShelterBoxes were distributed, at the end of 2010.

ShelterBox has responded to floods in Bolivia before, delivering 600 ShelterBoxes in 2007 and 200 in 2008.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, SRT members and ShelterBox New Zealand continue to closely with the authorities regarding any needs they have after last week’s devastating earthquake in Christchurch.

A number of ShelterBox tents and other items such as water containers have already been put to use in response to official requests for emergency shelter assistance. Additional assistance remains on standby should it be required by the New Zealand authorities.