Tarring man supports disaster response charity

Colin Spiller, emergency responder with MapAction, is raising money for the charity
Colin Spiller, emergency responder with MapAction, is raising money for the charity

TARRING man Colin Spiller is ready to respond to natural disasters across the world at the drop of a hat.

His expertise in mapping has already been used following devastating floods in Malawi earlier this year and in the Philippines in 2013, following the typhoon.

Now, Colin wants to highlight the work of MapAction, the charity which he joined in 2011 to help provide rapid, on-the-ground mapping to humanitarian aid agencies.

“The charity has been going for 13 years,” explained Colin. “It is a small charity that is unique. It supports the United Nations for disaster assessment and action.

“We have the capacity to deploy at any given notice. We are a volunteer-led, rapid response charity. I can get a call and be on a plane in 12 hours, that is unique.”

The 43-year-old, of Canterbury Road, works at the Environment Agency as an emergency response officer for flooding and pollution incidents, and he is an expert on the geographic information system (GIS).

He has used his knowledge to volunteer in his spare time and said the charity was ‘brilliant’, the only one of its kind in the world.

“We go to some pretty rough locations so we have to be self sufficient,” he added. “There is a lot of commitment.”

Colin will be riding in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday, August 2, to raise money for the charity, as well as awareness of its work.

Teams are made up of highly-skilled professionals who are specially trained in disaster response. Most recently, there was a team in Kathmandu, helping to co-ordinate the response following the devastating earthquakes in Nepal.

Colin is one of 41 volunteers who are on 24-hour standby to deploy to an emergency. They are backed up by 30 GIS professionals, who provide operational support from the UK during an emergency.

MapAction is unique because it provides rapid, on-the-ground mapping to help agencies, governments and the NGO network co-ordinate and target relief like shelter, food, water and medical supplies, as effectively as possible.

Since 2002, the charity has assisted in 55 humanitarian emergencies worldwide.

Colin said: “I am riding in ‘Ride London’ to raise money for the charity, as we need the funds to continue the great work the charity does.

“In a humanitarian crisis, relief agencies need rapid answers to questions about ‘where’. Where are the greatest needs? Where are the gaps that need to be filled?

“MapAction works in disaster zones providing frequently updated situation maps, showing where relief help is most urgently needed.”

To support Colin, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving and search for Colin Spiller. The charity’s website is www.mapaction.org.

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