Scotty Robinson’s team, on the ground in Brazil. From left: Robinson, Mark Echols, Laura Dale and Mark Boeck. Submitted photo
by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Heavy rains that fell in southeastern Brazil in early January caused massive flooding and mud slides across the region. Eventually more than 420 people were declared dead as a result of the natural disaster.
On Jan. 13, the BBC reported “about 200 people have died in the town of Nova Friburgo, some 175 in Teresopolis and dozens more in Petropolis. Thousands of people have been made homeless.”
Four days later Sequim resident Scotty Robinson arrived in the area to lead a ShelterBox International team sent to respond to the disaster. He and his team, which included three volunteers from the United Kingdom, worked with local civil authorities and Rotary Club members to deliver more than 450 of the ShelterBoxes, which provide temporary housing — and much more — to those left homeless by a disaster.
Each box supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless. While the contents of the boxes vary in response to the type of disaster and the climate conditions, most contain a tent, tools, a stove, blankets and necessities for the children.
Robinson said his recent efforts were made much more difficult by the terrain. “There was no place that was flat.”
Robinson said the heat also made the work harder — one day his team and other volunteers were required to set up 100 tents in 104-degree heat and 98-percent humidity.
Robinson said ShelterBox always is looking for help in preparing and distributing the boxes, which cost $1,000 each. Each time a box is deployed, ShelterBox workers note the time, place and circumstance of the deployment and inform the donor as to its final use.
The organization was started in 2000 by one Rotary Club member, who enlisted help from others. Rotary International took up the cause and today remains a vital source of support for the organization.
Robinson said the organization spends its money wisely; “85 percent gets to the people you want to help.”
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