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ShelterBox and Scouts – working together in Japan

Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan one month ago, ShelterBox has been working tirelessly to provide shelter, warmth and dignity to families affected. To help those most in need, the ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) on the ground has worked with many organisations including Rotary, the UK embassy and most recently, Scouts.

A Scout group in Natori have been working closely with the SRT to ensure ShelterBox’s specially designed tents are effectively put up. Natori, in the Miyagi Prefecture, was ravaged by the tsunami which swept through the area in mid March. Since then, families have sought shelter wherever possible, often in overcrowded evacuation centres.

Mark Dyer (US), a member of the SRT, taught some of the Scouts how to put up the tent and was extremely impressed with their knowledge and professionalism.

‘The Scouts are familiar with tents and know how to camp’, he said, ‘They were keen to learn and eager to help – teaching them how to set up our custom designed tents was really easy!’

The Scouts are now working with 100 other members of their troop to set up tents so families can begin moving back to their property and start the task of rebuilding their lives. Under the guidance of the SRT, the Scouts will be working with Rotary Clubs, Civil Defence authorities and the Japanese Red Cross to help distribute tents and other lifesaving materials.

‘This is the first time I’ve worked with Scouts on deployment and it’s been a great pleasure’, Mark added, ‘After we completed the demonstration, I was honoured as they presented me a neckerchief from their troop. These Scouts have been through so much but their enthusiasm and willingness to help was really inspiring.’

Emma Nicholls, a member of the Young ShelterBox team, has been amazed at the support received from Scouts across the world since the disaster.

‘Scouts are hugely important to our work, whether in the field or in the UK,’ Emma said, ‘Groups from all over have contacted us to ask how they can help. We know there’s a huge amount of awareness raising going on - it’s been fantastic and we’re so grateful for everyone’s support.’