Emergency Response Kits (ERKs)
 
 
 
Emergency Response Kits are one of Rotary's best success stories.  Since 2007, over 5588 Kits have been distributed to those in dire need in 12 disaster areas in the Pacific (figures as at July 2018) caused by cyclones, floods or tsunamis.
 
The Emergency Response Kit is a ‘first response’ resource distributed to affected families immediately following catastrophic weather and environmental events in Polynesia and Melanesia to support them through the first days after a disaster. With a kit and a little ingenuity, a family can construct basic shelter, keep themselves protected from the elements and utilise the immediate survival items that are included.
 
The value of a kit including the container, contents, freight and storage is approximately NZ$600. The project has been encouraged by the New Zealand Government who over many years has often provided transportation, logistical and financial support. 
 
Emergency Response Kits are prepositioned in Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands to enable prompt distribution throughout Polynesia and Melanesia with back up supplies retained in Auckland where the kits are packed by Rotarians and their supporters from the combined clubs.
 
ERKs - Brochure for Download  - this further explains about the kit, its contents and use.
Click here to find out more about volunteering - clubs in Auckland may be involved in assembling ERKs and in the Pacific with distributing these in time of disaster
Contact re ERKs: Email erk@rnzwcs.org  Phone +64 3 359 9218
 
History
 
35 years ago, Eastern Hutt Rotarian Ian Wright introduced the original wooden Emergency Box (now known as the Emergency Response Kit or ERK) to provide Humanitarian Aid and Assistance in the South Pacific Islands following tropical cyclones and other natural disasters. This project was presented and enthusiastically endorsed in 1984 by then District Governor and now Past Rotary International President Bill Boyd at his District 9940 Conference. It then spread quickly to all other five New Zealand Rotary Districts and at least four different types of box and several variations of contents evolved when the boxes were filled by individual clubs.
 
When the rate of resupply from Rotary Clubs no longer matched the need being experienced in 2009 Rotary New Zealand World Community Service applied and were successful in obtaining a substantial grant from New Zealand AID’s Humanitarian Action Fund to help replenish Emergency Box stocks.
 
Acceptance of this grant however as well as New Zealand Customs required that every box was identical and contained identical contents so there was an urgent need for rationalisation. Accordingly, in 2010 Rotary New Zealand World Community Service took over administration and management of the whole New Zealand Emergency Box operation and standardised the program to give it new life by relaunching and renaming it the Emergency Response Kit.
 
The standardised Emergency Response Kit now in a plastic box can be used to hold water or food once the contents have been taken out. The contents still include essential household cooking, eating, cleaning and clothing items, tarpaulin, tools, toilet and medicine items including a recently added birthing kit but are all brand new.
 
Filling of the Kit’s which is valued at $600 each is done in batches of 500 or more by selected Rotary Clubs in Auckland in accordance with demand. Pre-positioned stocks of ERK’s are held in readiness by Rotary Club’s in Vanuatu, Samoa, Fiji, the Cook Islands and Tonga ready for immediate distribution when needed with backup and replenishment stocks of ERK’s held in Auckland ready to be freighted to any disaster areas in the South Pacific Islands.
 
The main beneficiaries of Emergency Response Kits are the people of Oceania/South Pacific including Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Western Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and the Cook Islands who are all affected by cyclones and other natural disasters.
 
Rotary New Zealand acknowledge the encouragement and support the New Zealand Government has given to this Project over many years through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Aid Program by providing transportation, logistical and financial support.
 
We will never know how many lives have been touched by this project. The International Humanitarian worth of the Emergency Response Kit in the Pacific Islands has been proven many times when their distribution by local Rotarians after disasters has been well advanced before other aid agencies had determined what, if anything they could do to assist.