When natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines strike, survivors lose their homes, possessions and hope.
Almost 4.5 million people from 36 provinces were affected and more than 5000 people are feared dead since Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8.
Hamilton shoppers are bringing back hope to eight families of up to 80 people after donating $12,000 to Rotary International's ShelterBox charity.
ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity specialising in emergency shelter provision. The sum of $1000 buys one green ShelterBox which supplies an extended family with a tent and essential equipment.
The box includes thermal fleece blankets, waterproof groundmats, stove, cooking equipment, warm hats and gloves, children's activity pack, mosquito nets, water containers and water purification or filters.
Hamilton-based ShelterBox New Zealand director Mike Cahill, president elect of Fairfield Rotary Club in Hamilton, said the money had been raised by six Hamilton Rotary clubs at The Base and Chartwell shopping centres last weekend.
"ShelterBoxes are already on their way to the Philippines as we can't wait until donations are received, so pre-positioned stocks have already been called forward."
By working with ShelterBox, Rotary had established a secure way of ensuring that all the money donated was used for the people who needed it, Mr Cahill said.
"We have got 19 people from ShelterBox in the Philippines who have been there since the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in October . . . and then they were hit by a typhoon and a super typhoon," he said.
"They had been working in Bohol helping victims of an earlier earthquake. Team members get the boxes through customs and ensure that they go where they should, they help erect the tents and show the people how to use the equipment."
Highly trained response team members were deployed to the Philippines at a moment's notice and had been working hard as first responders to bring relief to vulnerable families in need, he said.
"The philosophy is to get right in the middle of it . . . We know we have had families in tents for up to three years.
"A feature of each box is that it has its own unique number so that the organisation and donors can track their box to its final recipients."
Mr Cahill said it was hoped the international ShelterBox Appeal would provide shelter for 6800 families or 68,000 people.
ShelterBox grew out of a Millennium Project of a Rotary Club in Cornwall, England and is responsible for more than 200 deployments in more than 85 countries.
To make a donation or help raise funds contact Mr Cahill on 021 328 084.
- Waikato Times