There are smiles in these photos, as the arrival of 39 tons of ShelterBox aid brings hope to remote villages in earthquake-shattered Nepal.
International disaster relief charity ShelterBox is gearing up its operation in the uplands of Nepal. In the early hours of this morning 39 tons of much-needed shelter aid left Kathmandu’s busy airport, heading in trucks up steep winding roads towards the mountain district of Sindhupalchowk.
This shipment contains 500 family tents, made to United Nations specifications. There are also 500 ShelterBox shelter kits, containing tools to help clear rubble and saw wood, and – most importantly – waterproof tarpaulins and fixings to create basic, dry shelters, or to make the best of habitable parts of damaged buildings.
They will soon be on their way to selected sites among Sindhupalchowk’s 79 village communities, among the highest inhabited altitudes in the world.
A group of local volunteers from the community of Chautara helped ShelterBox’s Liz Odell and Liam Norris unload the equipment into an abandoned hospital, which is being used as a storage facility.
Liz Odell explains, ‘The doctors have moved to a local football field where ShelterBox is contributing tents to provide space for the medics to work and live. The hospital building is badly damaged and unsafe to work in.’
ShelterBox is working with the Nepal Red Cross to distribute the aid to families in remote areas badly affected by the earthquake. Helicopters still come and go, airlifting people in need of medical assistance, and carrying aid to communities that can be reached only by air or on foot.
ShelterBox has strengthened its Nepal team in recent days, and now has twelve people working in country. Phil Duloy (UK) was the original in country co-ordinator, and is now deputising for Andrew Clark (UK) as is Dave Ray (UK). Dave has experience of shelter cluster management in Malawi, so will also be cluster liaison. Nicola Hinds, Becky Maynard and Liz Odell, all from the UK, were in place within days of the earthquake. They have since been joined by Sallie Buck (UK), Dave Hallett (Canada), Mike Peachey (New Zealand), Peter Pearce (Australia), Liam Norris (UK) and Andrew Kukielka (UK). More will follow to refresh or replace teams, as ShelterBox expects to be in Nepal for some time.
In addition to today’s consignment of 1,000 tents and kits, 53 ShelterBoxes are already in Nepal, with a further 1,500 now in transit. 500 more shelter kits are landing this afternoon, and a further 1,736 are in Dubai awaiting charter flights. ShelterBox already had 72 ShelterBoxes in Kathmandu when the earthquake struck, as it had responded to flooding and landslides in Nepal last Autumn. The tents from those boxes are being used as outdoor clinic space in four Kathmandu hospitals, and now in Chautara.
ShelterBox Chief Executive Alison Wallace says, ‘ShelterBox responded rapidly to this disaster, and had the practical advantage of having some aid already in the country, which had an instant use to create extra hospital space. Kathmandu brings its own challenges, and now our teams are working with colleague charities on plans to get to the hardest-to-reach mountain communities. The flow of incoming aid is getting faster, and we now have substantial stock already in country, and much more on the way.’
‘This is a truly international operation, from our team here in Cornwall, through to our multi-country response volunteers on the ground, working with a cluster of partner organisations from all over the world. Every arm of ShelterBox is being flexed – our overseas affiliates, our donors from around the world, our big-hearted supporters, our tireless volunteers.’
‘This organisation runs on generosity and compassion, and we are seeing both on a grand scale in our response to the Nepal earthquake. I want to thank everyone involved for their time and energy, and donations, which will be needed for many weeks to come.’
You can support our efforts in Nepal and other countries by donating here: PLEASE DONATE or phone 1300 996 038