“I’ve regularly reported on the rapid, life-sustaining aid ShelterBox has provided around the globe to people in regions ravaged by earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, typhoons, warfare, floods, and other natural and manmade disasters. Now, we have a heavily-populated region hit by several of those extremes at once, while we are being stressed to help victim in numerous countries simultaneously,” says Bill Dowd, SRC’s ShelterBox liaison officer.
What he is referring to is the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that recently devastated the populous Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where as of today more than 400 people have perished — and hundreds more may, where tens of thousands been made homeless, and where more than $20 billion in damages to infrastructure and buildings has been identified.
ShelterBox was among the very first non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be on the scene with emergency tent-housing, tools, water purification and first-aid equipment, basic lighting devices, and more items necessary to human survival when infrastructure is destroyed.
Sulawesi, which has a population of about 18 million, is the world’s 11th largest island, and anthropologists estimate it has been inhabited since about 30,000 B.C.
At the same time, ShelterBox has issued a winter appeal for support for its efforts at sustaining life for the many thousands of refugees from the internecine fighting in Syria.
But, those are not the only people ShelterBox has been helping, with your contributions directly making an impact. The global Rotary-affiliated aid agency estimates that right now there are nearly 85 million people around the world who have been made homeless by natural disaster and conflict and remain in dire need of ongoing assistance merely to stay alive.
“That means almost 85 million people without a place to call home; without a hope for the future. Our ShelterBoxes and ShelterKits are an emergency response, a tool, a practical solution and, in the midst of disaster, nothing less than a miracle,” ShelterBox officials say. “Please donate today to help us deliver the first glimpse of help and hope to a desperate family.”
Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club traditionally has been honored as an exemplary financial supporter of ShelterBox, both as an organization and from individual contributions. Proceeds from our Clynk beverage container redemption program, for example, helps support our club contributions, and a certain number of individuals have chipped in major grants.
At this time of unprecedented need, we are asking SRC members to step up to support a humanitarian effort for ShelterBox’s global efforts. Anything you can contribute, from as little as $5 to as much as $50 to $500 or more would go toward the purchase of ShelterBoxes, which for years has been able to freeze the per-unit cost at just $1,000 for years. You may even want to enlist of your family, neighbors, friends, church, synagogue, or mosque colleagues to contribute small amounts toward creating a powerful whole.
To kickstart the SRC effort, April and Bill Dowd again have pledged $1,000 each toward this effort as they have done annually for a number of years. However, we can’t stress enough that you please do not regard this as putting any pressure on individual SRC Rotarians to make major contributions. What we are looking for is the cumulative power of small donations. If you can help, please let Bill know by the end of October, and he’ll detail how you can be involved.