ShelterBox distributes a further 1050 boxes in Myanmar with support of Rotary clubs worldwide
US Rotary member joins ShelterBox response team in Yangon to assist in relief efforts
EVANSTON, Ill. (May 19, 2008) - Almost two weeks after Cyclone Nargis devasted the delta region of Myanmar, an aid flight carrying 1,050 containers of relief supplies arrived from the United Kingdom Friday morning 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 organization to be allowed into the country, where the powerful May 3 cyclone killed more than 77,738 people with 55,917 others missing, according to Burmese state media.
On board of the DC-10 plane were two American volunteers to support the four ShelterBox response team members from the UK who have been in Yangon since May 8 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, Tenn.
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. Each ShelterBox container is equipped to help a family of 10 survive for six months.
"500 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 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 utilize the Shelterbox contents and set up the tents.
Shelterbox started in 2001 as a modest project by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, England, and quickly garnered support among Rotary clubs worldwide. To date Shelterbox has raised $29 million and delivered aid to 40 countries in response to more than 70 disasters. Each container costs $1,000 to sponsor. Rotary clubs provide more than half of the charity's funding.
Visit www.shelterbox.org for more information.