By Angelo Spencer-Smith, a member of the ShelterBox Response Team to Madagascar.
In mid-March, I began my first deployment with ShelterBox to help families in Madagascar that were hit by Cyclone Giovanna.
On day one, we get up early and travel for one or two hours by truck over rough tracks – bumped and bruised, to arrive at a river crossing. This is as far as our big truck will take the main supply of tents, so the rest has to be offloaded by hand and transferred into our vehicle and/or boat.
The crossing is on a pontoon made out of barrels and old oil drums with hand cut wooden planks placed on top and lashed together. It is pulled by hand by teams of villagers with ropes from each side, and moved into position with long bamboo poles. Getting on and off with our trucks is difficult as the small jetty has been washed away by the river after all the excess rain from the cyclone. We have to use reinforced planks to land directly on the beach. Continue reading