By: Brianna Isabelle
Wayne Chiles, a volunteer for the international organization ShelterBox and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield, VA, has been a regular face at the STAR-TIDES demo since the first event in 2007. Mr. Chiles learned about STAR-TIDES through fellow Rotarian John Bohm, who had been invited to display the ShelterBox by Dr. Lin Wells II, the director and founder of STAR-TIDES. Mr. Chiles describes the TIDES demo as a great opportunity to meet with people to whom he would not normally be exposed. He values all contacts during the demo, especially those with student groups. He explained that student groups from NDU, with their varied backgrounds and responsibilities, are powerful for ShelterBox because they are military personnel who can potentially make a connection with the iconic green box at a later date during a deployment when disaster strikes. Mr. Chiles notes that student groups with a broad international focus that come through the demo allow for interactions that may help ShelterBox with logistics in another country following a disaster.
ShelterBox was founded to provide shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disasters around the world. Started in United Kingdom by a Rotarian in Cornwall, ShelterBox has a small professional staff and community volunteers there who help pack the boxes to be sent to disaster areas. Boxes are pre-positioned in strategic locations around the world so the initial response may make quick and effective. Highly skilled ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) volunteers from around the world are responsible for delivering the kits to the most vulnerable families. Since 2001, ShelterBox has served over 1 million people in over 90 countries, responding to earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes and conflict. The Rotary International network of 34,000+ clubs is a key partner for ShelterBox as a source of donations and especially for their assistance to SRTs during deployments in their home countries.
Currently, ShelterBox is trying to assist those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan that battered the Philippines by pledging to aid at least 4,000 families. These temporary shelters are designed to serve a family of 6-10 people for 12-18 months. ShelterBox receives no government funding and is supported entirely through donations. As of November 20, there are three Response teams, with a fourth arriving soon, deployed in the Philippines working to get kits to the mainstream disaster response channel, and to remote locations that have also been severely affected. The immediate challenge for ShelterBox is to get materials released from Cebu airport and arranging transportation for those Boxes headed to more remote communities. Mr. Chiles commented on how connections made through the STAR-TIDES network help to provide aid faster and more efficiently. For more information on ShelterBox or to donate to their Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Appeal, please visit: http://www.shelterboxusa.org/
Brianna Isabelle was a TIDES Intern from Aug-Dec 2013 at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy in National Defense University