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Kiwi Rescuer heads to flood-stricken Philippines

Kiwi Rescuer heads to flood-stricken Philippines with vital ShelterBox Aid

Auckland man Ross MacKenzie, one of ShelterBox NZ’s Response Team Volunteers heads to the Philippines tomorrow to help with rescue and support work following devastating flooding caused by Tropical Storm Haikui.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their flood-hit homes. ShelterBox in-country members will be joined by Ross and Peter Pearce from the Australian ShelterBox Response Team (SRT).

Ross, a serving Fire Fighter on Auckland's North Shore, is one of 160 specially trained volunteers from ShelterBox, a global 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 said: "Manila is a city with 11 million people, 800,000 of whom have been displaced by this disaster. Just getting around will be a huge challenge and the in-country ShelterBox volunteers have themselves been affected by the floods so they are trying to cope with their own situation as well as trying to help others.

“We have 900 ShelterBox kits available and, when we arrive on Friday, we will be assessing the situation to see if more are needed”.

SRT members will form two teams on arrival, one urban and one rural. Ross has been part of two previous SRTs, one to the Philippines in 2009 after Typhoon Morakot and to Madagascar in 2012, another country hit by a major cyclone.

Each ShelterBox costs $1500 to equip and the organisation relies on donations to keep the boxes filled. ShelterBox NZ Director, Mike Cahill said: "Ross is responding in person on behalf of ShelterBox but we hope that Kiwis will respond by making a donation to keep the boxes full. We need all the support we can to get life-saving equipment to families caught in these disastrous situations and a small financial donation goes a long way to help".

ShelterBox New Zealand is run by a dedicated team of mainly Rotary volunteers from across the North and South Islands. The Kiwi response team has been deployed in a number of countries including Fiji, Samoa, Australia, Japan and here at home following the Christchurch earthquakes.

Mike added: “Last year, ShelterBox deployed to a disaster or emergency somewhere in the world every two weeks. That’s an enormous number of families left with nothing and reliant only on the generosity of their neighbours from around the world".

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".


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