Disaster relief drive continues
The Rotary Club of Matamata has relaunched its successful public campaign to raise funds for victims of natural disasters around the world.
Last year’s campaign raised almost $3500 which was sent to Rotary International to replenish stocks of vital shelter boxes and emergency response kits which are distributed by the worldwide arm of the organisation whenever disaster strikes.
Matamata Rotary president David Wheadon said it was hoped this year’s campaign would be just as successful in raising not just funds but awareness of the project as well.
‘‘We hope the people of Matamata will again be as generous with their giving as they were last year,’’ he said.
‘‘We (Matamata Rotary) don’t pick or choose disasters to support. These shelter boxes and kits are administered by a practised international team from Rotary International who distribute these vital supplies as and when they are required,’’ Mr Wheadon said.
Shelter boxes have been described by the Red Cross as ‘‘the best form of primary aid in disaster situations they have seen in 25 years’’ and have in recent times being delivered to victims of flooding in Brazil, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Panama.
Since the programme began in the United Kingdom in 2001, more than 100,000 shelter boxes have been distributed worldwide. Each box costs $1500, funded primarily by donations and monies received from Rotary clubs from around the world.
Included in a typical shelter box are a domed tent for 10 people, blankets and sleeping bags for up to 20 people, a multi-fuel stove, water carriers, water purification tablets for six months, plates and utensils and treated mosquito nets.
The Emergency Response Kit project was launched in New Zealand and its objective is to provide a ready stock of these boxes for distribution in the South Pacific. The kits contain survival-type items and cost $600 each.
Mr Wheadon said it was vital that Rotary maintained good stocks of each kit so that when disaster struck a response could be launched almost immediately.
‘‘This is a positive way that people can ensure a dollar’s worth of giving produces a dollar’s worth of aid for those who desperately need it,’’ he said.
Matamata residents wishing to donate to the club’s aid project can do so at Paper Plus on Broadway. The appeal will close at the end of February.
Back again: The Shire has been rebuilt at Matamata’s Hobbiton for the up-coming filming of which is set to go ahead in March.