Shelter, aid reach victims of Italian quake
Volunteers assemble a ShelterBox tent in Assergi, Italy, after the country's worst earthquake in decades left tens of thousands homeless on 6 April. Photo by Mike Greenslade/ShelterBox
Hours after a powerful earthquake struck central Italy on 6 April, killing nearly 300 people, a team of ShelterBox volunteers reached the affected areas to distribute 245 containers of relief supplies to hundreds of displaced families.
The quake, Italy's deadliest in nearly three decades, left tens of thousands homeless, and damaged or destroyed at least 15,000 buildings across the mountain city of L'Aquila.
In the chaos after the disaster, the ShelterBox team worked with local Rotarians and Italy's Civil Protection Agency to set up five tent camps in the nearby village of Assergi.
"The situation was quite critical in the first couple days," says John Diksa, a ShelterBox volunteer and president of the Rotary Club of Grenoble-Grésivaudan, Isère, France. "Our quick advancement in affected areas helped families stay together. Italian Rotarians were extremely helpful in identifying the areas in most need."
ShelterBox, a grassroots disaster relief organization supported by Rotary clubs around the world, provides boxes that contain a tent, blankets, water purification and cooking equipment, basic tools, and other necessities to help a family of 10 survive for six months.
Diksa estimates that more than 2,000 people have benefited from the ShelterBox containers distributed in Italy after the quake. Most of the families will rely on temporary shelter until September, he says.
District 2090, which covers Albania and parts of Italy, including the most devastated areas, has organized meetings for the next couple of weeks with the nine other Italian districts to discuss intermediate and long-term relief projects.
District officials said the district will focus on making engineers and architects available and lending any technical expertise it can to the most damaged communities. Long-term initiatives would include helping businesses that plan to rebuild.
For more information:
Watch a BBC news interview of ShelterBox's Andrew Biss in L'Aquila, Italy
Find out how to help following a disaster