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ImageThe below excerpt is taken from the outstanding Rolling Stone article, Beyond Relief:  How the World Failed Haiti.  The article outlines a clear and continued need for small non-profits like SurvivorBox (tm) to work with NGOs to bring continued relief through needed supplies to those still striving to survive in Haiti.

Below is a section of the article with a link to the Rolling Stone article.

Dubbed "Canaan," after the biblical promised land, the Corail region is now one of Haiti's 10 largest cities, as well as its largest and most squalid camp, a bitter irony lost on no one involved in the relief effort. "Corail is a ton of people living in a flux state, without safe shelter, who don't know what the future holds," says Schindall. "It's Haiti post-earthquake in a nutshell."

It wasn't supposed to be this way. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake on January 12th, 2010, the international community resolved not only to rebuild Haiti, but also to establish new and more efficient models for dispensing humanitarian aid. President Obama, calling the tragedy "cruel and incomprehensible," pledged "every element of our national capacity" to the response. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton created a special fund for Haiti; the American Red Cross launched a wildly successful appeal, raising close to $500 million in one year. In total, an estimated one in two American households donated more than $1.4 billion to Haiti relief, with close to $11 billion more for reconstruction pledged by donor countries and financial institutions. "We will be here today, tomorrow and for the time ahead," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised during a post-quake visit to Port-au-Prince.

American and international officials gave their plan for Haiti a simple and compelling name: Building Back Better, a term that came into vogue after the tsunami that struck Asia in 2004, and that has since become something of a mantra in the development world. In a radical shift away from traditional approaches to foreign aid, "building back better" attempts to go beyond simple relief and not only to rebuild shattered structures, but to restructure, in a sense, shattered societies. At the forefront of this effort is private-sector investment being leveraged to build the kind of infrastructure needed to promote economic development and attract foreign corporations: roads, power lines, factories, markets. "The hope," explains Matthew Bishop, co-author of Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, "is that using the private sector will be a lot more efficient. Traditional aid has been extremely wasteful. When it is allowed to take the lead, the private sector is more likely to try something new or entrepreneurial."

But despite all that has been promised, almost nothing has been built back in Haiti, better or otherwise. Within Port-au-Prince, some 3 million people languish in permanent misery, subject to myriad experiments at "fixing" a nation that, to those who are attempting it, stubbornly refuses to be fixed. Mountains of rubble remain in the streets, hundreds of thousands of people continue to live in weather-beaten tents, and cholera, a disease that hadn't been seen in Haiti for 60 years, has swept over the land, infecting more than a quarter million people.

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Relief Needs on the Upswing
After starting the year with a massive quake in Japan, followed by a devastating tsunami, extreme weather is causing an unprecedented demand on relief services around the world.

SurvivorBox.org is continuing its cooperation with Partners in Health's "Stand with Haiti" project while efforts to establish bridges to NGOs and religious communities on the ground in Japan are being pursued. And the demands continue unabated.

Because of a particularly strong La Nina weather pattern, the United States is experiencing record weather disasters, ranging from droughts in the Southwest, to tornadoes throughout the Southeast and Midwest, to floods all along the route of the Mississippi River.  Whole towns and counties are being wiped off the map by massive storms and both controlled and uncontrolled flooding.

Meanwhile, with the global recession leading many to predict a cessation in the rise of greenhouse gases associated with climate change, carbon dioxide levels are in fact reaching peak levels; and ozone depletion - once thought to be under control with the removal of hazardous refrigerants and aerosol propellants from the market - is re-emerging as a threat to both the environment and to human health.

Experts project widespread occurrences of extreme weather for years to come, despite global efforts to control greenhouse gases and the release of carbon into the atmosphere.  Rising ocean temperatures and changes in atmospheric patterns support these conclusions.

While this is occurring, political and social unrest also threaten to cause disasters of another sort.  When government upheaval and social unrest dislocate normal society, large populations can be uprooted, leaving behind the chaos of one country while imposing an unexpected burden on neighboring nations.  Whether caused by natural or by human forces, the resulting disruption of life and displacement of populations creates critical needs for relief supplies and services.

SurvivorBox.org is making urgent efforts to leverage its volunteer model with private and corporate contributions to make our SurvivorBox™ emergency supply packages available to crises areas around the world.  We have personnel and corporate resources to outfit and pack our relief supplies.  We need financial and/or in-kind support to transport the supplies to NGOs and relief groups here and abroad to serve critical needs of struggling populations.

Make a difference by supporting SurvivorBox.org.  You can contribute through our website, and you can even contribute by utilizing our "iGive" browser bar to do your regular daily Internet search activities.

Click here to find out how YOU can help today.

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Norimasa Kobayashi, an assistant professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, recently published a paper entitled, "Lessons to the Learned from Japan's Disaster on March 11."  The paper was so compelling and insightful, we have made it available for our supporters to download.  As a person both involved in disaster relief and also Japanese, he gives us a unique look at how the Japanese culture and citizens view the non-profit sector and how great their needs are. 

In Japan, where the earthquake and subsequent tsunami eradicated entire cities, the need for assistance came quickly.  The paper written by Kobayashi outlines Japan's infrastruture and preparations for such an event, and how this particular disaster surpassed all expectations.

He writes, "The reduction of transaction cost has the power to create a whole new market. Japan has not had the mainstream tradition of private donation. The nonprofit sector in economy is far less significant than that in the west. I hope and am quite confident that the donation systems this time stimulate the Japanese to become the donating citizens. The government should support this fully via tax benefits and other ways."

He indicates that social media played a prominent role in the assistance that has been received.  "At a much larger scale, it is easier than ever before for us the world citizens to be connected information-wise or financially ... I sincerely hope and thank you very much for whatever support you may give to the victims, may it be warm words or money."

Image The massive earthquake that struck northeast Japan on March 11, 2011 has caused a cascading series of impacts being felt around the world.  The force was such that the planet's mass was redistributed, and the length of the day was shortened by a fraction of a second.

In Japan, the damage caused by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake was massive; the ensuing tsunami literally obliterated towns and lives; and a critical nuclear facility teetered on the edge of disaster for days, threatening an ecological disaster.

What this has meant for the people of Japan, both locally and throughout the island nation, is a wide-ranging disruption of daily life and all expectations of normalcy.

As relief agencies around the world spring to aid the disaster victims, the SurvivorBox™ organization is moving quickly to establish its presence.

Our personnel are working urgently to establish relationships with on-site organizations in order to ascertain local needs, to secure cooperation and distribution channels, and to determine logistical requirements of transporting a variable mix of first aid, personal care and hygiene essentials in the unique SurvivorBox™ containers to those most in need.

The SurvivorBox™ design – a modified flexible plastic “hurricane box” with a watertight lid – is perfectly suited to the distribution of these necessary items, which are protected from the elements by the container.  The SurvivorBox™ itself can also be re-purposed for a number of tasks, ranging from use as a basin for washing or bathing to serving as a flotation device.

Our core team is also working with companies and charitable organizations in the United States to secure funding necessary for assembly, packing and transport.  Most urgently needed at this point are contributions of any denomination, as well as logistical support to assist in the transportation of these badly-needed supplies.

For more information or to pledge your support in this critical time, please visit us at www.SurvivorBox.org or on Facebook

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SurvivorBox is proud to announce its recent alliance with Partners In Health (PIH) and Stand With Haiti Project. We will be providing our boxes and necessary vital equipment.

In the boxes there will be first-aid kits, hygiene supplies, and items specifically requested by PIH Team Haiti. The extra equipment may include tools, generators, water purifiers, pumps and children’s items. As part of its commitment, SurvivorBox agrees to fund, procure, prepare, and ship the boxes to Port au Prince, Haiti, from Wilmington, North Carolina. For its part, PIH agrees to manage in-country logistics and distribution on site through their hospital and clinic locations.

One Box per individual family will contain:
FIRST-AID contents:
- Alcohol wipes & hand cleanser
- Gauze & band-aids
- Anti-bacterial ointment, hydrogen peroxide & Ibuprofen
- Medical gloves & surgical masks

BOX contents:
- Bars of soap
- Shampoos
- Shaving needs
- Washcloths
- Lotions
- Toothbrushes
- Toothpastes
- Mouthwashes
- Dental flosses
- Deodorants
- Sanitary wipes
- Feminine hygiene products
- Condoms
- Hair brushes
- Combs
- Mirrors
- Nail clippers
- Laundry soaps
-Cleaning disinfectants
- Water purification tablets
- Solar powered flashlights
- Ponchos
- Whistles for rape prevention

We are often asked about the status in Haiti with regard to hygiene and whether our efforts are well-placed there.  We believe they are.  In the following information, provided through the Partners In Health website, we explore the prevalence of cholera.  The following information is provided by Joia Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer for PIH.

"Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness that is spread by drinking water containing the organism Vibrio cholera. Symptoms typically develop between one and five days after drinking water contaminated by the human feces of persons infected with the cholera bacteria.  Only about 10 percent of those who drink water contaminated by the cholera bacteria will fall ill; however, the infection can be fatal particularly among young children, the elderly, the malnourished and persons with decreased immune function. Those ill with cholera develop profuse, watery, high volume diarrhea that is rapidly dehydrating. Without adequate replacement of volume lost, patients may go into shock and die of dehydration. The mainstay of treatment for cholera is fluid and salt replacement—generally by oral rehydration solution—a standard combination of salt, sugar and water. Intravenous fluids may be needed if the patient is unable to drink due to vomiting or a depressed level of consciousness. Antibiotics are used to decrease the volume of diarrhea and the excretion of bacteria in the stool—both can help decrease transmission.

Cholera is a disease of poverty—and was one of the earliest documented public health problems.  Cholera epidemics are caused by a lack of access to safe, clean water. Typically, the world’s poorest people obtain drinking water from a river or stream; in the absence of pit latrines or public sewage systems, the same river is used for defecation allowing human waste to mix with the water used for drinking.  While boiling water will kill the cholera bacteria, the fuel to boil water costs money and as wood-based charcoal is the main source of cooking fuel in Haiti use of charcoal is also related to the continued deforestation of the country. Cholera can also be transmitted if a person eats food contaminated with the cholera bacterium.

Cholera in Haiti:

While Haiti has not had a documented case of cholera since the 1960s, the conditions in the lower Artibonite placed the region at high-risk for epidemics of cholera and other water-borne diseases even before the earthquake of January 12, 2010. In 2000, a set of loans from the Inter American Development Bank to the government of Haiti for water, sanitation and health were blocked for political reasons. The city of St. Marc (population 220,000) and region of the lower Artibonite (population 600,000) were among the areas slated for upgrading of the public water supply. This project was delayed more than a decade and has not yet been completed. Additionally, in Gonaives the capital of the Artibonite has been destroyed in two waves of floods and mudslides, after tropical storm Jeanne in 2004 and after the series of hurricanes in 2008, made possible because of the environmental devastation of the region. The destruction contaminated the water supply and left the infrastructure (including the health infrastructure) of the upper Artibonite in ruins, forcing people to seek residence and medical care in St. Marc.  Lastly, the earthquake of January 12, 2010 resulted in the displacement of 1.7 million Haitians. While reliable statistics are not available currently, the last estimate, as of March of 2010 was that 300,000 addition Haitians had fled Port au Prince to the Artibonite. As there are no “camps” in the region, these displaced persons are “home hosted”—joining poor relatives in already overcrowded conditions, without water security or adequate sanitation. The dispersal of displaced people makes it difficult to provide centralized services."

It is simply because of the lack of centralized services and the overcrowded conditions that a product like SurvivorBox™ offers a solution to fight disease in this disaster-torn region of our world.

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The Johns Hopkins and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies published a report in 2009, which in Chapter 8, discusses the link between disease and the environment.  Chapter 8 offers such a deep justification and need for our product that we are republishing it here on our website.  Some signficiant excerpts are below:

"The United Nations has declared that access to safe water and sanitation is a human right that applies in times of peace and in emergencies. In emergency settings, people often leave their homes in search of safer surroundings. In many instances, the water, sanitation and hygiene conditions of new surroundings might not be adequate. In other instances, people might be left in their home surroundings but with destroyed or damaged societal and physical infrastructure including water, sanitation and health care systems.

People affected by emergencies often suffer from malnourishment, stress, fatigue and other ailments including injuries. These conditions, coupled with unsanitary living conditions such as substandard sanitation, inadequate water supplies and poor hygiene, make disaster-affected people especially vulnerable to disease. This chapter discusses the importance of improving water, sanitation and hygiene in emergency settings.

Few emergencies leave people displaced for only a short time. Most emergencies last years. Decisions made early in the    emergency,    therefore,    often    have    long-term consequences. Since emergencies often result in years of displacement,    this    chapter    focuses    primarily    on environmental improvements that address the longer-term needs of disaster-affected populations."

Diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infection, measles, malaria and malnutrition are the most common causes of death in emergencies. All these causes of death are preventable. Hygiene plays an important role in preventing these diseases. The majority of these preventive measures are related to environmental conditions: appropriate shelter and site planning, clean water, good sanitation, vector control, personal protection such as (insecticide-treated nets, personal hygiene and health promotion.

These measures address conditions in the environment, known as ‘risk factors’ because they can cause disease. It is important to understand the relationship between disease and environmental risk factors because interventions must target risk factors properly. Table 8-1 provides an overview of environment-related diseases and environmental risk factors that contribute to disease. It is worth noting that although malnutrition is not an environment-related disease, it is linked to diarrhoea because malnutrition increases the severity of diarrhoea while diarrhoea can cause malnutrition."

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