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Pacific Cyclone Season Commenced Today

Pacific Cyclone Season Commenced Today

The 1st November marks the beginning of the South West Pacific Cyclone season and weather bureaus predict that this season has the hallmarks of being similar to those of recent years.

Over 35 years ago forward thinking Rotarians in New Zealand were empowered to assist our Pacific neighbours with emergency assistance at a time when climatic and other natural disaster including cyclone, devastating flood, tsunami or earthquake occurred. They identified the most immediate needs for a family which could be placed in a container strong enough to be transported by air, sea and land to destinations where local Rotarians and community members could distribute them.

Today, Rotary New Zealand (RNZWCS Limited) manages and coordinates the Emergency Response Kit programme. Kits are pre-positioned in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. Stock is also retained in New Zealand for immediate transportation by emergency airlifts to other more isolated Pacific countries.

The kit contains more than 60 essential items for a family in an emergency situation. It includes two weatherproof tarpaulins for temporary shelter, tools including hammer and nails, and a folding shovel for trenching and ground work. Whilst the kit contains only non food items, food and water is the key to survival and for that fishing tackle and a hunting knife is included along with a machete for gathering wood, a cooking grate and a bombay pot to prepare food. Bowls, mugs and plates and kitchen essentials are there too. Cleaning implements and products are included to alleviate hygiene and sanitation issues.

The kit contains all manner of clothing for women and girls, men and boys including linen and towels. A medical pack recognises the hygiene and safety requirements of all the family and includes soap, tooth brushes and paste, pain killers, antiseptic cream, bandages and water purification tablets. The Emergency Response Kit container has the capacity for holding 78 litres of water. Gumboots and a wind up rechargeable torch are an added safety in hazardous situations. Mothers often give birth during emergencies and a birthing kit is contained in the container.

Annually, Rotary New Zealand volunteers’ purchase the stock and assemble the kits, to allow it to pre position and distribute hundreds of Emergency Response Kits throughout the Pacific. The objective of the programme is to have the stock on hand for immediate distribution as soon as the situation is such that Rotarians and their supporters are able to do so without putting their own lives at risk. Rotary engages and collaborates with National Disaster Management Organisations that coordinate relief efforts in each country to ensure that the Emergency Response Kits are distributed to those most in need.

Further details and ways the public can assist can be found on www.rnzwcs.org


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