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More Kiwi ShelterBox Members head to Philippines

Two More Kiwi ShelterBox Response Members head to Flood-stricken Philippines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: - 14th August 2012

Two more Kiwis – Owen Smith from Kerikeri and Arnold Kelly from Ashburton - are on their way to the Philippines to provide ShelterBox disaster relief for hundreds of thousands of families left homeless by devastating floods.

Owen and Arnold join fellow ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) volunteers Peter Pearce from Australia and Ross MacKenzie from Auckland who left New Zealand last Friday. Ross predicts the current situation – caused by Tropical Storm Haikui - may get far worse for flood victims with many more storms anticipated between now and Christmas.

Ross reports: "We have a massive task to help those left homeless. I have seen large areas of uninhabitable houses, visited schools where displaced families are living 16 families to a room - and the new school term is just about to start. The flooding is up to 3km inland and is likely to take three months before the waters start to recede.

“It is a very bleak picture here for many thousands of people. The rainy season has only just started and the number of families in desperate need is likely to increase dramatically in the coming months. We have many families in need of our ShelterBoxes, but very little dry land to build on”.

Owen, Ross and Arnold – Ashburton’s former police boss – are among 160 specially trained volunteers from the charity ShelterBox, a global disaster relief organisation that provides shelter, warmth and comfort to families struck by disaster. ShelterBox kits cover basic needs – tent, water purification equipment, tools, stove, blankets and other essentials to help families rebuild their lives.

Ross, a firefighter on Auckland’s North Shore, said: "Manila is a city with 11 million people, 800,000 of whom have been displaced by this disaster. We have 900 ShelterBox kits available and are assessing to see how many more might be needed.

The three men are all experienced in disaster relief. Ross has been part of two previous SRT deployments, one to the Philippines in 2009 after Typhoon Morakot and to Madagascar in 2012, with Arnold and Owen on previous deployments to the Sudan, Haiti, China and Colombia.

Every ShelterBox costs $1500 to equip and the organisation relies on public donations to keep the boxes filled. ShelterBox NZ Director, Mike Cahill said: "Our SRT members respond in person on behalf of ShelterBox but we would urge all Kiwis to respond by making a donation that will help keep the boxes full. We need all the support we can get to help those families caught up in these disastrous situations and a small financial donation will go a long way to help".

ShelterBox is a global Rotary Club Project that is run in New Zealand by a dedicated team of volunteers across the North and South Islands. Our Kiwi response team has been deployed in a number of countries including the Philippines, Samoa, Fiji, Japan and here at home following the Christchurch earthquakes.

Anyone can donate to help families around the world at their time of greatest need by clicking on the ‘Donate’ buttons at: www.shelterbox.org.nz

© Scoop Media

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