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Saturday 01 July 2017

Peru mission to help flood-affected
Peru mission to help flood-affected

Jimmy Griffith's motivation to head out on missions helping those affected by natural disasters is deeply rooted.

Griffith said the thought "if it was me, I would like someone to help me" kept him going.

He has recently returned from Peru on what was his sixth mission with the Shelterbox response team.

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter to people affected by disaster worldwide.

This time around he helped Peruvians after the country was plagued with heavy rain and flooding from January to May.

The flooding was the worst to hit Peru in two decades, and a warming of the ocean waters off the country's coast is possibly linked to the unusually heavy rainfall. 

Griffith visited Peru from April 8 until May 25 with international disaster relief charity Shelterbox, to deliver emergency equipment to those affected.

Griffith said the country received its annual rainfall in one day.
"You think flooding will come up slowly, but it was just a torrent of water coming down.
"Trucks were crossing the road, next minute water came around and the trucks just got swept away."

Shelterbox provided 1000 ShelterKits, which consisted of essential tools to help people start repairing and rebuilding their homes.

Griffith said the Peruvian government did not want to rebuild on the land affected by the flooding and instead placed people whose homes had been lost in camps. 

"The government didn't want us to give tents because it can actually delay the process [of rebuilding houses] but also, whose land are they putting the tent on?

"The problem with the flooding is the government didn't want to rebuild on the land that had been flooded because it was the second time [it had flooded] and they're expecting more rain in August. But where do you put the people?"

He said instead it provided people whose homes had been partially destroyed with ShelterKits, solar lights, blankets and water carriers. 

Griffith had just been to Sri Lanka in August last year after the country was hit by massive flooding and landslides in May 2016.

He said it often felt they were "fighting a losing battle" when helping people affected by natural disasters, of which the frequency would most likely increase as global warming and climate change continued.

"Every second a person is displaced by natural or human introduced disasters, which is over 31 million people a year," he said.

"Our goal at ShelterBox is to help a million people a year by 2025, that's just a fraction of people displaced."

ShelterBox is launching a winter fundraising campaign next month. Shine for ShelterBox is an opportunity to host a dinner with family and friends, asking them to make a donation to ShelterBox.

For more information, contact info@shelterbox.org.nz

 - Stuff

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