The warehouse at ShelterBox headquarters in Cornwall, UK was busy with volunteers this week as they packed winterised boxes to be sent to help Syrian refugee families in Lebanon to prepare for the approaching winter months.
With the Syrian refugee population almost at two million in Syria’s neighbouring countries and no signs of the figure easing, communities, infrastructure and services in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon are being put under unprecedented strain.
The smallest host country, Lebanon, is currently hosting the most refugees at 672,942, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), the vast majority being dependent on aid.
‘Winter can bring snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures,’ said ShelterBox Logistics Manager Shane Revill. ‘We want to have winterised aid in Lebanon in preparation for these conditions to bring Syrian refugees protection, shelter and warmth as quickly as we can.
‘Each box contains the disaster relief tent with a thermal liner that lies within the inner and outer flysheets to insulate the tent more, thermal groundsheets and blankets, solar lamps and kitchen sets.’
79-year-old Alec Parker was one of the volunteers assisting with the pack. He has been dedicating his time to ShelterBox for five years:
‘It’s such a worthy cause and gives me the opportunity to meet up with like-minded people.’
‘Fills the need’
Retired teacher Carol Raines is 67 and joined ShelterBox as a warehouse volunteer in 2005 following the Asia tsunami. She was placing the kitchen sets and blankets in each box down the packing line and said: ‘I think ShelterBox is brilliant as no one else does what it does; it stops the gap and fills the need.’
ShelterBox’s network of local implementing partners in Lebanon will carry out discrete micro distributions to Syrian families in need once the aid is released through customs. ShelterBox also continues to assist communities displaced within Syria itself.
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