ShelterBox containers reach devastated areas in Myanmar
Cyclone victims from the Irrawaddy Delta region in Myanmar receive ShelterBox containers.
Almost two weeks after Cyclone Nargis devastated the delta region of Myanmar, an aid flight carrying 1,050 containers of relief supplies arrived from the United Kingdom on 16 May at the Yangon airport.
The plane was chartered by Cornwall-based charity ShelterBox, a grassroots disaster relief organization supported by Rotary clubs around the world. ShelterBox was one of the first outside relief organizations to be allowed into the country, where the powerful 3 May cyclone left more than 134,000 people dead or missing.
Onboard the DC-10 were two American volunteers to support the four ShelterBox response team members from the UK who have been in Yangon since 8 May distributing the initial shipment of 644 boxes containing tents, mosquito nets, tools, water-purifying tablets, and other essential aid items. The Americans are Patrick Olson, a college textbook publisher and member of the Rotary Club of Plymouth, Michigan, and David Eby, a property appraiser from Brentwood, Tennessee.
Working with local authorities, the team unloaded the containers onto trucks for transport to the outlying Irrawaddy Delta region, where the need is the greatest.
"Five hundred boxes, plus 50 blue (water purification kit) boxes are planned to be distributed to Ngaputaw, Haigyi Island, in the southwest delta region, 250 boxes to Labutta Delta, and 250 to Bogale," team leader Ian Neal said from Yangon.
Neal, a Cornish firefighter, said that over the last week his team worked closely with local authorities in Yangon to get the supplies into the affected area. The ShelterBox crew also held "train the trainer" sessions to teach Burmese fire and emergency officers how to use the ShelterBox contents and set up the tents.