PEOPLE are being urged to back an appeal to send vital aid to Japan as the country tries to recover from a devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Hartlepool Rotary Club is calling on residents of the town to help those suffering in the East Asian country where the death toll is feared to reach 12,000, with thousands more being left homeless.
It is estimated that 450,000 people have been staying in temporary shelters, with many sleeping on the floor of school gymnasiums.
The quake, which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale, caused chaos along Japan’s east coast and the country is still gripped by fears that there may be a nuclear disaster at the damaged Fukushima power plant.
Rotary International has responded to the disaster by upping its drive to support the club’s humanitarian aid project called ShelterBox.
The relief charity specialises in the creation of survival kits to be sent to the victims of disasters around the globe.
Only last year it drove a relief effort for earthquake victims on the Caribbean island of Haiti – when Mail readers helped raise £3,500 in aid.
Ted Jackson, communications officer for Hartlepool Rotary Club, who lives in the town’s Amble Close, said: “This is yet another disaster that has shocked the entire world.
“It is horrific what the people in Japan are going through. It is hard to even imagine how hard life has become for those living there.
“This is one of the quickest ways to help and we are hoping to get a good response so we can assist as much as we can.”
Each box costs £490, including materials, packing, storage and transport, and contains a disaster relief tent for up to 10 people, fleece blankets, a stove and cooking equipment, a toolkit and a children’s activity pack.
They also contain waterproof ground mats, waterproof ponchos, mosquito nets, collapsible water containers and purifying equipment.
ShelterBox was launched in 2000 as a project attached to the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, where the boxes are still compiled in a warehouse with the help of volunteers.
In nine years it has sent boxes to 52 countries involved in 80 disasters and 800,000 people have been given shelter.
Anyone wanting to donate to the appeal can make cheques payable to Hartlepool Rotary Club and send them to Mr Jackson, 7 Amble Close, Hartlepool, TS26 QEP.
For more information contact Mr Jackson on (01429) 293648.
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