Shelter Box Update

provided by Brad Curlee

August has been a busy month for disaster relief charity, ShelterBox with deployments to six countries involving over 30 ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, the Philippines, the U.K. and the U.S.

In just the last few weeks, ShelterBox has deployed disaster assessment and response teams to six countries—Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, the Philippines, South Korea and Senegal. The teams have delivered emergency shelter and life-saving equipment to tens of thousands of people whose lives have been torn apart by drought, famine, tropical storms, flooding and conflict.

Over 6,000 ShelterBox tents and essential equipment have been sent to refugee camps near Dadaab in Kenya and Dolo Ado in Ethiopia. The tents will house up to 6,000 families who have fled drought-hit Somalia, some walking for up to seven days to find food, water, shelter and security. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently over 118,000 refugees at the camps in Dolo Ado, and numbers continue to rise as families flee the devastating conditions caused by drought in Somalia.

"The camps were overcrowded by more than 15,000 people; so many families were living without shelter under thorn bushes," said San Francisco-based Emily LoSavio, SRT member who recently returned from Ethiopia. "ShelterBox is committing a tremendous amount of our resources to this region, thanks to the generosity of our donors. The recipients of this aid will cherish the ShelterBoxes they receive for years to come, as this a place where conditions will persist for a long time."

The ShelterBox team is working closely with Save the Children, UNHCR, the Refugee Central Committee, and the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, to make sure that ShelterBox aid reaches the most vulnerable people in the camp. Child protection volunteers from Save the Children are helping ShelterBox to identify families who desperately need the vital items provided in a ShelterBox, including shelter, blankets, water purification equipment, tools and cooking equipment.

In Libya, civil unrest has led to an urgent and growing humanitarian crisis. ShelterBox has formed a partnership with the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development and the Libyan Red Crescent Society to safely and efficiently deliver 150 ShelterBoxes and 300 tents to the people most in need. In addition, 50 boxes containing classroom equipment will be distributed in September to schools affected by the conflict to ensure that they can reopen in time for the start of the new academic year.

In addition to these on-going humanitarian crises, ShelterBox is also responding following widespread flooding and landslides in the Philippines. Hundreds of families have been displaced in the Bicol Region due to destruction caused by Tropical Storm Juaning. Many families have lost their homes and belongings, and ShelterBox aid is en route.