• 30-MAR-2012

  • SOURCE: Rotary International

Rotary International, ShelterBox partner to aid disaster survivors worldwide

ShelterBox volunteers help after the Thailand floods in 2011
Survivors of natural disasters worldwide will benefit from a new agreement between the humanitarian service organization Rotary International and the disaster relief charity ShelterBox that leverages the strengths of both organizations to provide temporary shelters and critically needed supplies to displaced families quickly and efficiently.

Thousands of individual Rotary clubs have supported the work of ShelterBox since it was founded 12 years ago by Tom Henderson, a Rotary club member in England. The new agreement formalizes the relationship by designating ShelterBox as Rotary International's first "project partner."

With more than 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and regions, Rotary is well positioned to help ShelterBox identify and prioritize immediate relief needs in disaster-affected communities and to assist with deployments. And Rotary clubs worldwide will now have a proven disaster relief charity to receive their contributions.

"Our Rotary friends have always been there ready to assist – from generous donations to direct operational support on the ground Rotary has always been part of our DNA," said Henderson, ShelterBox CEO. "I feel like we have 34,000 ShelterBox offices around the world working together to help those who have lost everything when they need us the most."

Rotary CEO and General Secretary John Hewko said the agreement will increase hands-on service opportunities for Rotary club members in disaster-affected communities by providing the means for local members to have an immediate, lifesaving impact. Each ShelterBox container typically provides a tent designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, stove, water purification kit, blankets, tools, and other necessities to help a family survive for six months or more after a disaster.

"For more than 10 years, ShelterBox has given light to over one hundred thousand families worldwide in their darkest hour," said Hewko. "This project partner agreement represents our mutual goal of helping those in need. It gives Rotary a forward-facing approach to immediate disaster relief."

ShelterBox has provided emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families affected by more than 175 disasters in nearly 80 countries. A ShelterBox Response Team was deployed to Madagascar in March after powerful cyclones left more than 250,000 people homeless. The team has distributed more than 550 tents to affected communities. ShelterBox Response Teams are made up of trained volunteers, many of them Rotary members. Teams are currently operational in Peru, Turkey and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

About Rotary InternationalRotary is a global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary members are men and women who are business, professional and community leaders with a shared commitment to make the world a better place through humanitarian service. Rotary's top priority is the global eradication of polio. For more information visit: www.rotary.org or www.rotary.org/mediacenter.

About ShelterBoxBased in Cornwall, United Kingdom, with 21 international affiliates, ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth, and dignity to people made homeless by disasters worldwide. The new agreement with Rotary broadens the charity's volunteer base, enhancing its capacity to respond instantly to disasters while keeping costs low. For more information, visit shelterbox.org

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