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    Posted June 8, 2011 by
    Sarasota, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Joplin tornado: One year later

    ShelterBoxUS and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Joplin tornado
    More from ShelterBoxUS

    ShelterBox distributes aid to Arkansas families after tornadoes hit Joplin and southern states


    ShelterBox Response Team member, Yi Shun Lai and state Rep. Leslee Post


    A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is distributing shelter and other life-saving equipment to families in the close-knit, rural towns of Etna and Denning, Arkansas today, after their homes were destroyed by a tornado, one of a series that hit Joplin and other southern states in the last few weeks.


    Forty-eight ShelterBoxes have arrived and families who have lost everything in the worst affected areas and will receive shelter, warmth and dignity this morning.


    SRT members Yi Shun Lai of White Plains, New York and Tim Osburn of Lakeway, Texas have been working with officials and other leaders in the area, including Arkansas state Rep. Leslee Post and Rotary club member, A.C. Moncrief, who have been instrumental in coordinating the relief effort.


    “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 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 immediately following the storms and saw a direct connection between the type of destruction he saw there and what we’re seeing here in the small towns of Denning and Etna.” 


    The ShelterBoxes include a high-quality disaster relief tent, blankets, cook-stove, pots and pans and other essential equipment for survival.


    SRT member, Mark Dyer of Elmhurst, IL and other local volunteers, including a group of Boy Scouts are joining the team in the distribution and will be setting up tents with the recipient families. Media are invited to interview the team throughout the day. 


    “I’m incredibly honored to be here, helping these families who need it so badly,” said Osburn, whose late father and grandfather grew up in the city of Alma, Arkansas just 25 miles from the area.


    “We're glad that we can provide the families with some of the comfort, peace and dignity that they deserve," said Emily Sperling, ShelterBox USA president. “The support we get from our network of donors, Rotarians and volunteers have made this response possible.”


    This year, fierce storms, floods and tornadoes have hit the nation’s 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 seventh among the deadliest tornado years in U.S. history.


    This is the second time ShelterBox aid has been sent to the U.S. with ShelterBoxes being distributed to families in desperate need after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


    ShelterBox is also distributing aid in Colombia following widespread flooding that has affected an estimated three million people in the country.



    Since 2000, ShelterBox has provided shelter, warmth and dignity following more than 140 disasters in more than 70 countries. ShelterBox instantly responds to earthquake, volcano, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami or conflict by delivering boxes of aid. Each iconic green ShelterBox contains a disaster relief tent for up to 10 people, stove, blankets and water filtration system, among other tools for survival. ShelterBox’s American affiliate, ShelterBox USA is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida. Information: http://shelterboxusa.org. 


    Individual tax-deductible donations to ShelterBox USA can be made at www.shelterboxusa.org, (941) 907-6036 or via text message by sending SHELTER to 20222 for a one-time $10 donation. Location and time specific donations cannot be accepted.  For information or to make a contribution by phone, please call (941) 907-6036.

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