Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020 - 57

WORLD VIEWS

FOCUS

Volunteers unloading supplies
to the hard-to-reach outer
islands in Vanuatu after Cyclone
Pam in 2015. All photos: Byond
Disaster Relief New Zealand.

After disaster
Byond Disaster Relief New Zealand works with
OFPANZ to put unsellable textiles to good use.
BY LAURIE JUNKER

H

ardly a month goes by without news of a catastrophic weather event somewhere
in the world. Whether it's a hurricane, tsunami, flood or wildfire, the scenes have
become distressingly familiar-homes and businesses destroyed, vegetation laid
bare and hundreds if not thousands of displaced people seeking the basic necessities of fresh
water, food and shelter.
New Zealander Lyndon Tamblyn was tired of watching from the sidelines, and 10 years
ago decided to help by training as a disaster responder through a U.K.-based nonprofit agency.
Through that organization he served as "boots on the ground" in the aftermath of dozens of
disasters, including the 2011 tsunami in Japan and typhoons in the Philippines. Four years
ago, Tamblyn took his charitable impulses a step further and founded Byond Disaster Relief
New Zealand (Byond NZ) to apply what he'd learned to provide aid efficiently to areas in
and around New Zealand and the Pacific islands.
"The big charities are great and have lots of resources, but they cover a huge geography
and often move slowly. We and our valued partners can move stuff quite quickly, not only
because we're close, but also because we're small and have special relationships with other
small aid organizations," Tamblyn observes. "We're just a bunch of volunteers with regular
day jobs, be it a teacher, farmer, engineer or retired police officer who come together, see
what aid we have in our toolbox and get it to disaster areas fast." Byond NZ has responded
to disaster events in Nepal (earthquake) the Philippines (typhoon), Fiji (cyclones) and New
Zealand Kaikoura (earthquake).
ULTIMATE SUSTAINABILITY
Tamblyn has been an independent industrial textile agent for the past 25 years and a longtime
member of the Outdoor Fabric Products Association of New Zealand (OFPANZ), the New
Zealand chapter of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI). It was at a session
on waste reduction and sustainable practices at the annual OFPANZ conference last summer
that he had an epiphany. "I was sitting there listening to them talk about what to do with
excess, imperfect or used products, and I raised my hand and said, 'Hey guys, if you have
leftover PVC fabric or shade cloth, we'd love to have it to use in disaster areas.'"
That comment led to an impromptu brainstorming session with other OFPANZ members
who volunteered ideas of additional kinds of materials, and even skills such as sewing and

The future
of disaster relief
The LuminAID® PackLite, an inflatable
solar-powered lantern made from
transparent thermoplastic polyurethane,
provides invaluable light and, with a USB
port option, phone charging to disaster
areas where electricity has been knocked
out. Other textile products, such as
those that use nanofiltration to convert
saltwater to fresh drinking water, may
one day be a game-changer for disaster
relief operations. For more details, visit
www.luminaid.com.

www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com 57


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Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020

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