Tuesday, June 28:
Arkansas State Representative, Leslee Post, has praised ShelterBox for providing shelter, warmth and dignity to families in the state who lost everything when tornadoes hit at the end of May.
The tornadoes swept through Franklin and Johnson Counties just after midnight on May 25 destroying close to 100 homes and claiming five lives. ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members Yi Shun Lai (US), Tim Osburn (US) and Mark Dyer (US) distributed emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies to the familes affected by the disaster.
In a letter to ShelterBox, Leslee Post said: ‘We will be forever indebted to the ShelterBox Response Team members and ShelterBox for coming to our need during our disaster.
"On behalf of Franklin County, particularly the 35 children who are living in the ShelterBox tents because they have nowhere else to live, I humbly and sincerely thank you for making life much more dignified."
This is the second time ShelterBox has delivered humanitarian aid in the USA, the first being after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Thursday, June 9: ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members, Rotarians and the Boy Scouts of America, have distributed emergency shelter and ancillary aid for families affected by the tornadoes in Arkansas.
The ShelterBoxes were distributed on June 9 in Altus and Denning, Arkansas; two of the worst affected areas of the state which were devastated by the massive storm system that swept across the United States. It was the same storm system that lead to the tornado, the worst to hit American soil in 60 years, that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri.
ShelterBox Founder and CEO, Tom Henderson, said: "I give huge credit to the work of our Response Team volunteers. In a case like this where storms covered such a huge area, our team went to great lengths to make sure no pockets of devastation were missed."
SRT members Mark Dyer (US), Yi Shun Lai (US) and Tim Osburn (US) worked with members of the Altus Sunset Rotary Club to identify families whose homes were destroyed. The club helped to arrange a volunteer work force to assemble tents and distribute aid, including more than 40 Boy Scouts and leaders.
SRT member Tim Osburn, completing his first deployment since graduating as an SRT member earlier this year, said the support from Scouts and Rotary was invaluable.
"Seeing the devastation that this storm created was heartbreaking, homes and properties were just leveled," he said. "Having the Rotarians and Scouts show up to help us with distribution was absolutely fantastic. We had teams working in different locations around Altus and Denning, with these Boy Scouts – we only had to show them how to set up the tents once, then they got right to it."
SRT member Mark Dyer added: "This is the second deployment where I’ve worked with Scouts in the field, the first being after the Japanese tsunami earlier this year, both have been great experiences.
In temperatures that were over 90 degrees, they worked quickly to get families into disaster relief tents. The Scouts are always working hard and in the middle of so much devastation you can always count on them to put a smile on your face.
Working with ShelterBox and showing their level of service, they’ve proved a great example of good citizenship in their community, in their nation, and in the world – cornerstones of the scouting program around the world."
ShelterBox has programs in place working with Scouts in the UK and in the USA.
Wednesday, june 1: Emergency shelter for close to 50 families is en route to rural Arkansas, USA.
Families in the small, close-knit, rural towns of Etna and Denning had their homes destroyed last week when a tornado tore through them. 48 ShelterBoxes are en route to the worst affected areas and will provide shelter, warmth and dignity to families who have lost everything. ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members Yi Shun Lai (US) and Tim Osburn (US) have been working with officials in the affected area.
"In rural northwest Arkansas, where communications are spotty and folks are spread out, it’s easy to overlook pockets of the population that are in need of help," said Yi Shun Lai.
"We’ve seen folks whose homes are reduced to rubble but who remain on their land for fear of losing even more. Tim Osburn was in Joplin last week and saw a direct connection between the type of destruction he saw there and what we’re seeing in the small towns of Denning and Etna.
At this point, other agencies are beginning to pull out but no one’s yet been able to provide shelter for those who desperately need it."
This year fierce storms, floods and tornadoes have hit the southern states hard. ShelterBox Response Teams have worked in Tuscaloosa and Joplin but the disaster response needs were being met by local authorities.
According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) 2011 is preliminary ranked 7th among the deadliest tornado years in US history. The tornado that struck Joplin was the worst to hit American soil in more than 60 years.
A tornado is a violent rotating column of air that reaches to the ground from a storm cloud created and maintained by strong inflowing winds. Most continents have regions where conditions lead to development of tornadoes. In the US, "Tornado Alley" stretches between Nebraska to Texas and Oklahoma. The tornadoes form here when cool air from the Rockies meets the warm, wet air from the Gulf of Mexico.
This is the second time ShelterBox aid has been sent to the US with ShelterBoxes being distributed to families in desperate need after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. back