ShelterBox, Rotary’s project partners in disaster, is sending a small team to the Dominican Republic after a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti Saturday morning, working with Rotary in the region for support. At least 80,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, and it is expected that number will soar in the coming days.
Days after the earthquake, Tropical Storm Grace made landfall, bringing with it heavy rains that could trigger deadly mudslides and flooding. Families are sleeping out in the open in makeshift tents and under tarpaulins, or sheltering with neighbours, increasing the risk of a coronavirus outbreak. Emergency shelter will be vital in giving families the space to recover and socially distance.
Upon arrival in the Dominican Republic, the ShelterBox team will work with fellow humanitarians, including the Rotary District 7020 Disaster Management Committee to assess damage reports, understand from communities what they need, and work on the challenging logistics of delivering aid to areas where buildings have been reduced to rubble.
The rubble of a disaster zone is no place to shelter from a tropical storm, let alone try and continue rescuing survivors.”
This will be the first time a ShelterBox team has deployed since the coronavirus crisis severely restricted international travel in early 2020.
ShelterBox have responded several times to Haiti, including in the aftermath of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake. The charity will be using everything it has learned, and its close partnership with Rotary International, to forge local connections and make sure the right emergency shelter reaches communities when they need it.
Alice Jefferson, ShelterBox Head of Responses, said: “The earthquake hit Haiti early in the morning – and it hit hard. Right now, almost a million people need support. We know that will include shelter. Our teams are working round the clock to understand how to get the right aid to people in Haiti, and Storm Grace only increases the urgency.
“The rubble of a disaster zone is no place to shelter from a tropical storm, let alone try and continue rescuing survivors. We will do everything we can to reach vulnerable communities after they have suffered so much.”
ShelterBox responded to the Les Cayes region – close to the epicentre of Saturday’s earthquake after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The geography near the quake’s epicentre could make access to vulnerable communities – and the materials they need to recover – especially difficult. Homes are often made from concrete, wood and corrugated iron, leaving them vulnerable to strong earthquakes. Heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Grace could cut off roads and leave people stranded without support.
Rotary Disaster Recovery Trust reopens appeal
As ShelterBox mobilises to respond to the immediate aftermath, the Rotary Disaster Recovery Trust has reopened their Caribbean Disaster Appeal following the latest earthquake.
The Trust collates donations and makes grants to Rotary projects working on the medium- and long-term rebuilding and regeneration of areas impacted by natural disasters.
How to donate
If you would like to support* the Disaster Recovery Trust (charity number 1119688), you can:
- Donate to the Appeal via our Virgin Money Giving online payment option.
- Send a cheque – Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Disaster Recovery Trust, Kinwarton Road, Alcester, B49 6PB
- Contact the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Finance department for bank transfer information
About the Disaster Recovery Trust
The Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Disaster Recovery Trust (formerly known as the Donations Trust) is a registered charity (number 1119688), established in 2007, which collates donations and makes grants to Rotary projects working to rebuild communities.
Since then the charity has continued its work with the purpose of responding to major disasters at home and abroad in the reconstruction phase following a disaster.
Typical projects include constructing and equipping school and community centres, rebuilding infrastructure and providing rescue vehicles.
Over the last three years, the Donations Trust has collated funds for earthquakes in Italy, New Zealand and Nepal, flooding in the UK, Ireland and Pakistan as well as hurricanes in the Caribbean.
Apply for funding
Rotary clubs are eligible to apply for funding from the Disaster Recovery Trust to create and implement sustainable, community development projects for areas recently affected by disasters.
For more information on how to apply for funding, please visit the Disaster Recovery Trust page within My Rotary. Please note this area is only accessible to Rotary members.
*Please note that all donations are subject to a 2% administration charge to support the running of the trust, and in the event that no suitable project can be found within a period of five years, the donations will be transferred to the Disaster Recovery Trust’s General Fund.