RCLAM's ongoing fundraiser in response to the Haiti earthquake has so far raised and donated over $500 to ShelterBox USA. And in response to the additional recent earthquakes in Chile, Mexico, and China, ShelterBoxes and ShelterBox staff are now being deployed accordingly. (UPDATED May 5)
New Development #1:

Tents given to villagers in earthquake-torn Yushu
(from ShelterBox, 28 April 2010)

Up to 2,000 people made homeless by a powerful earthquake that struck Western China have been given disaster relief tents from ShelterBox.

ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Tony Zhang (CN) travelled through mountainous terrain in freezing temperatures to get to Yushu, near the Tibetan border, which was hit by a 6.9 magnitude quake on April 14.

Thousands of families lost their homes in the disaster which also collapsed houses, schools and offices.

Tony distributed a total of 200 disaster relief tents to the outlying Yushu villages of Ri Ma, Shang Laxiu, Xia Laxiu, Niang La and Ba Tang, with help from local volunteers and NGOs.

Fellow SRT members Andrew Gauci (AU) and Owen Smith (NZ) worked from Xining, Qinghai province's capital, to coordinate the difficult logistics of getting disaster relief tents to the area. They were supported by the charities, Friendship Charity Association, Shanghai Charity Foundation and local Rotarians.

'90 percent of buildings collapsed'

Team leader Owen said: 'Tony and our friend Awang, a Tibetan from Qinghai province, left Xining with a truck full of tents for the 800km road trip to Yushu from Xining. You go from about 2,600 metres above sea level at Xining to around 4,000 metres altitude at Yushu on this journey. Tony arrived the next evening after an 18-hour journey.'

Tony said: 'We arrived at the epicenter at the town of Jie Gu and we were astounded by the scene in front of us because 90 percent of buildings had collapsed.

'A local NGO leader Yong Qiang took me to a huge camp for Internally Displaced People which was a racecourse before the quake. Our tents arrived and a group of villagers unloaded 100 tents. The distribution went smoothly without any chaos and tents were given to the most needy families. Then we moved to another village with the remaining 100 tents and villagers from scattered villages came up to pick up their tents.

'I showed locally displaced people how to put up a tent and one family with five people moved into their 'new home' immediately. I visited several more sites on remote villages and found our tents had been perfectly put up by local people.

'We finished the distribution in Yushu area and we are very happy with what has been achieved.'

Owen thanked the many volunteers who had helped with the transportation and distribution of the ShelterBox tents. 'In Yushu there were a number of volunteers from a local NGO who helped with tent erection demonstrations and distribution,' he said.

'In Xining we also had help from university students who were volunteers with the Friendship Charity Association and waited up late into the night to help us transfer tents between trucks in the freezing cold.'

Owen was impressed by the way the Chinese authorities responded to the disaster.

'The Chinese government did a great job of getting aid to the people affected by the earthquake' he said. 'They really were putting in a huge effort but there was still need particularly in the remote villages.'

New Development #2:

Aid en route to Mexico after earthquake
(from ShelterBox, 13 April 2010)

Emergency shelter for up to 2,600 people is being sent to Mexico after an earthquake rocked the country last week.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Baja California region on Sunday, April 4. An estimated 25,000 people have been affected by the earthquake with the worst damage in rural areas south of Mexicali.

More than 5,000 families have reported that their homes have been either completely destroyed or severely damaged. ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members John Mackie (US) and Jennifer Kormendy (CA) arrived in Mexicali on Saturday, April 10, and will soon receive the first consignment of ShelterBox tents.

Jennifer said: 'We toured some of the worst-hit areas on Saturday and there is definitely a need for ShelterBox aid.

'People have stunned looks on their faces as they try to comprehend what lies ahead following the earthquake. There have been over 2,000 aftershocks since the earthquake struck and even if homes were not flooded or flattened, many structures remain too unstable to occupy and people are sleeping outdoors.

'ShelterBox tents will allow them to gather their families and remaining possessions and stay close to their homes until they are able to rebuild. The tents will likely be used for up to a year as many do not possess the resources to rebuild immediately.

'We have been receiving invaluable logistical support from government agencies and enthusiastic Rotarians.'

ShelterBox Head of Operations, John Leach, added: 'This is the fourth earthquake we've responded to this year and we're working hard at HQ to make sure the team get the tents they've requested as quickly as possible.

'There are people in need and our job is to get them shelter and give them the security they need to begin the rebuilding process.'

A selection of photographs taken by the ShelterBox Response Team in Mexico can be seen here.

New Development #3:

Thousands more ShelterBoxes to be sent to Haiti

(by Alan Monroe, 9 April 2010)

Three months on from one of the worst disasters ever witnessed, over 100,000 Haitian earthquake survivors are rebuilding their lives in ShelterBox tents.

The international disaster relief charity has now delivered over 13,000 ShelterBoxes to families who lost everything in the 7.3-magnitude quake. Each box contains a disaster relief tent to house a family of up to 10, water purification, a cook stove, blankets, a tool set among other items.

As the world marks the three-month anniversary of the disaster that struck on January 12, ShelterBox is sending another 5,000 boxes of aid this month - enough for an additional 50,000 people - with thousands more ShelterBoxes due to arrive in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, during the coming months.

ShelterBox began its response to the Haiti earthquake just 12 minutes after the quake struck on January 12, by mobilizing a ShelterBox Response Team to Port au Prince. The next day, the first ShelterBoxes left the charity's HQ in the UK bound for Haiti.

The first boxes arrived five days after the earthquake and were used to set up emergency field hospitals, immediately saving lives by providing vital shelter to patients who had nowhere to go. Hundreds more boxes followed and ShelterBox camps were set up in suburbs of Port au Prince including Delmas, where families with newborn babies and pregnant women were prioritized for emergency shelter.

A total of 13,000 ShelterBoxes have now been distributed in Haiti with thousands more to come, making it ShelterBox's largest deployment since the Indian Ocean Tsunami. All aid has been delivered by volunteer ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members from across the globe who have carried out extensive training with ShelterBox. More than 30 SRT members, including 12 US SRT, have now been deployed in Haiti as well as Santo Domingo and Miami coordinating logistics for Haitian aid.

Having just returned from Haiti, Philadelphia Businessman and Response Team Member Bill Decker, is proud of the ongoing efforts and successes of ShelterBox to provide shelter for Haiti.

"I'm proud of the efforts of all of the dedicated people in Haiti," said Decker, "especially my ShelterBox colleagues who have provided enough shelter and warmth for over 130,000 of those displaced. That's about 13% of the total displaced by the quake."

Partnerships forged with organizations on the ground in Haiti such as French aid agency ACTED, the French Red Cross, the IOM, local Rotarians, the Dutch military and the US military allowed SRT members to distribute boxes effectively and securely, ensuring aid has been delivered to people most in need.

"While there are still mountains of rubble and ongoing medical crises," said Decker, "we're seeing aggressive efforts by NGOs and the Haitian people to clear away debris and actually begin to rebuild. Our ShelterBox tents will continue to be a key part of that rebuilding effort."

Across the globe, people have been supporting ShelterBox on unprecedented levels and volunteers at ShelterBox HQ have been packing more boxes, in the shortest space of time, than they ever have before.

The President and Royal Patron of ShelterBox, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall Camila, visited the charity's HQ in Cornwall, England last month to thank staff and volunteers for their relief efforts in Haiti.

ShelterBox Founder and CEO Tom Henderson said, "With tens of thousands of families still living without adequate shelter in heavy rains and the hurricane season soon approaching, the need for emergency shelter is still great and we won't rest until this need is met."



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