The three weeks of tremors that struck the northern district of Karonga last month left more than 4,000 households in need of emergency shelter. One quake measured 6.2 on the Richter Scale and prompted the government to declare a national emergency.
Last week a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) made up of Larry Agee, Dave Hallett, John Cordell and Scott Robinson, all from the United States, travelled to the south-east African country to oversee the distribution of 200 disaster relief tents and other emergency supplies.
Larry described how aftershocks were still being felt in Karonga. 'We are seeing a lot of damaged homes with many completely destroyed,' he said. 'People whose homes are still standing are too afraid to go back in as quakes are still happening. Many are sleeping outside their homesteads to protect belongings and start the planting season. Others feel if they do not return to their homesteads soon they will have food shortages in the months to come. Family-size tents at people's homesteads are proving essential.'
The ShelterBoxes are being deployed with support from the US-based charity Marion Medical Mission. The team is also liaising with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies during the distribution.
Malawi is situated at the southern end of the Great Rift Valley - a 5,000-kilometer-long fault line that runs north-south from Lebanon to Mozambique - a position that makes the country vulnerable to earthquakes.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity specialising in emergency shelter provision. Humanitarian aid is delivered in iconic green ShelterBoxes. Each one contains a disaster relief tent for up to 10 people, a stove, blankets and other items essential for survival. ShelterBox responds to disaster as quickly as possible with the aim of helping the people who are most in need.
Every box is individually numbered and can be tracked by donors. Each box costs £490 - including the cost of all materials, packing, storage, transport worldwide and distribution to the needy. Assuming six months' use, this equates to shelter and warmth for less than 30 pence per person per day.
All aid delivery is undertaken by international volunteer ShelterBox Response Team members who have carried out extensive training with ShelterBox. We are often able to get aid where it is needed faster than any other organisation.
An initiative of Rotarian Tom Henderson, a former Royal Navy search and rescue diver, ShelterBox started in 2000 as a project of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, Cornwall. ShelterBox, now the largest Rotary Club project in the world, has responded to disasters including the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma). In 2010, ShelterBox will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary.