Rotary and ShelterBox help restore a sense of normalcy after disaster

Rachel Simpkins, a ShelterBox volunteer, takes a break to entertain children whose families were left homeless by flooding in the Peruvian rain forest.
Photo Credit: Photo by Malcolm Shead

Months of heavy rains in the heart of the Peruvian rain forest had caused devastating flooding. It was April 2012, and the Amazon River and other waterways had submerged entire villages, forcing families to leave their belongings on the roofs of their homes and find higher ground. Many had to live on wooden planks or under tarps. The Rotary Club of Iquitos called on Rotary’s partner ShelterBox, which provides tents and other nonfood items in containers to people left homeless by disaster.

Malcolm Shead, a volunteer from Llandeilo, Wales, was a member of the first ShelterBox response team to arrive. When he captured this image, he and colleague Rachel Simpkins (pictured) were on an overnight reconnaissance trip to the area of Los Amazonas.

“At one point there were 10 to 15 kids crowding around,” Shead says. “These are all children of families who live throughout the rain forest and had to relocate to this small village. Municipal buildings, schools, churches -- everything had been turned into shelter for the families.”

The Iquitos Rotarians worked with the ShelterBox volunteers, providing a translator, funding the transport of ShelterBoxes up the river, and assisting with logistical challenges. By the end of May 2012, ShelterBox had provided 171 containers to people in the area.

Learn more about ShelterBox

Adapted from a story in the December 2013 issue of The Rotarian.

23-Dec-2013
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