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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 16:44 GMT
Boxes bringing hope to Bangladesh
Bangladeshi people with Shelterboxes
The boxes have provided a lifeline for thousands of people
A photographer who uses his camera to capture the impact of natural disasters has sent back stunning images of the Bangladesh cyclone's aftermath.

Mark Pearson's work with the Shelterbox charity allows him to gain access to areas where the mainstream news media are often not allowed to venture.

He arrived in southern Bangladesh just days after Cyclone Didr hit.

The cyclone left 3,000 people dead and a similar number missing when it devastated the region last month.

Shelterbox distributes tough, green plastic boxes containing a 10-person tent and enough equipment to house a large family for at least six months.

It has sent them to more than 40 countries since being established in 2001.

There was a fantastic reaction because we were the first organisation to distribute any kind of shelter
Mark Pearson

Each 60kg box also contains pots and pans, a multi-fuel stove, water carriers and purification tablets, tools for rebuilding, blankets and mosquito nets.

More than 8,000 Bangladeshi people have already been given shelter by the organisation - but Mark stressed it was still very much an ongoing operation.

He told BBC Good Morning Scotland: "When we did actually manage to get to the affected area there was quite a lot of disorganisation.

"Tens of thousands of people were queuing up on the riverbanks waiting for any kind of water, food, anything that people were distributing, so it was quite chaotic in the beginning.

"There was a fantastic reaction because we were the first organisation to distribute any kind of shelter."

In the past Mark, originally from Stranraer, has worked for a number of charities including the Red Cross, United Nations, Oxfam, Mercy Malaysia and Unicef.

Mark Pearson in Bolivia
Mark has travelled to natural disaster areas across the world

Because of the nature of his work, he is often one of the first representatives on the ground, and gets personally involved in co-coordinating areas of the rescue and the distribution of aid.

Thousands of homes in the region affected by Cyclone Sidr had been completely washed away by flood water. Others had been crushed by huge trees blown down by the 150mph winds.

Before Mark and the Shelterbox team arrived in Bangladesh, many refugees had been forced to live in makeshift shelters made from little more than a bamboo pole with some clothing draped over the top.

Mark said: "At night time here the temperature drops quite a lot and there are a lot of mosquitoes and insects crawling about so people are especially vulnerable.

"Across the river there are a lot of non-government agency workers and there was a story that they were beaten up. People were in a riot situation because there was no water so water is the biggest problem at the moment."

During the Asian Tsunami, the charity provided shelter for 150,000 people in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Maldives, The Andamon and Nicobar islands and more recently the destroyed islands of Nias and Simileu.

The Shelterbox concept was created by former Royal Navy search and rescue diver Tom Henderson. The boxes can be sent anywhere in the world at a few hours' notice.

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