Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Royal patron recognises disaster response work



The recent Christchurch visit by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall provided recognition of the New Zealand ShelterBox team’s post-earthquake efforts and their disaster response contribution around the world.
ShelterBox provides emergency accommodation and other survival essentials to disaster victims and was one of several volunteer organisations invited to meet the Duchess of Cornwall and HRH the Prince of Wales during a walkabout in central Christchurch today.
The Duchess of Cornwall was first introduced to the work of ShelterBox during a visit with the Prince of Wales to Pakistan in 2006, where they saw the charity’s work in the aftermath of the Kashmiri earthquake. Her Royal Highness was so impressed by ShelterBox’s innovative relief concept that she agreed to become President of the charity to show her support for their work.
Duchess of Cornwall meeting local Rotarians during
her recent visit to Christchurch

As President of ShelterBox, Her Royal Highness has a strong interest in the work of the charity, and visited the ShelterBox headquarters in Helston, Cornwall in 2010 to personally thank volunteers who had provided relief for people affected by the earthquake in Haiti, during which ShelterBox deployed some 28,000 boxes providing ‘shelter, warmth and dignity’ to more than 300,000 people.
“ShelterBox’s strength and ability to respond quickly are a testament to the fantastic support and goodwill of its volunteers all around the world,” says Her Royal Highness. “I am very proud to be the President of this wonderful charity, and I have every faith that ShelterBox will continue to move from strength to strength over the next decade.”
Since its creation in 2000 when it sent a consignment of 143 boxes to earthquake victims in the Indian state of Gujarat, ShelterBox has established affiliates in 20 countries around the world, including New Zealand. More than a million people have now received ‘shelter, warmth and dignity’ from ShelterBox.

“We’re delighted and honoured to host our President and Royal Patron in Christchurch today,” says Michael Cahill, ShelterBox New Zealand’s Communications Director. “This visit is a fantastic acknowledgement for ShelterBox and recognises the many millions of people who have been affected not only by the Christchurch earthquake, but also the people around the world who we have been able to help following natural or manmade disasters over the last decade.”
ShelterBox is currently deploying its kits to assist in disaster relief in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria. “Nigeria recently experienced the worst flooding in 50 years with thousands of people having been displaced from their homes,” says Cahill. “While some families have been able to return to their homes as water levels dropped others’ homes have been completely washed away. The boxes that are provided to families will mean that they can relocate their ShelterBox tents near to the rivers and resume fishing, which is their source of income, as soon as possible.”