Better emergency supplies on the way for New Zealand

HONOURED: Chair of Civil Defence Auckland Sharon Stewart and husband David stand with Auckland-based Tzu Chi members at a Tzu Chi hospital in Taiwan. Pohot supplied.

New Zealand will hopefully be on the receiving end of increasingly innovative emergency supplies following Chair of Civil Defence for Auckland Sharon Stewart’s recent trip to Taiwan.

The privately-funded trip was organised by Patricia Duke, a member of the Tzu Chi Foundation and was the second time Mrs Stewart had visited Taiwan.

Over the course of a week, she and husband David were given the opportunity to visit hospitals, the headquarters of the foundation and recycling centres where the processing of emergency supplies takes place.

At the Tzu Chi recycling centres, a 13-step procedure involving 70 clear plastic bottles creates one double blanket with the ability to dry immediately after getting wet.

By June 2014, more than 812,280 blankets had been distributed to disaster victims in nearly 30 countries from Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide.

It’s an extraordinary use of sustainable materials and management of rubbish, said Mrs Stewart.

“Tzu Chi Foundation is successful not only in solving the problem of the overused PET bottles, but raises awareness of sustainably living achievement and sharing information in regards to waste reduction.

“I want to make sure that everyone is made aware of what they do – not only in New Zealand, but around the world.”

Mrs Stewart also had the opportunity to see purpose-built solar powered lights for use during emergency surgery with the capacity to charge phones in the case of a power outage, and emergency bedding used for emergency operations.

One of the solar powered lights is due to arrive in Auckland soon.

She confirmed some of the Auckland emergency services have already expressed their interest in the technology and how it can place New Zealand in better stead for dealing with future disasters.

The Tzu Chi Foundation on Springs Road is organising a display of supplies for Civil Defence and emergency services.