Back-To-Back Cyclones Cross Yemen, With People Now At The Mercy Of Both War And Weather

satellite image of cyclone over Yemen

 

ShelterBox is monitoring a tropical storm named Megh 15, poised to hit Yemen on the Arabian peninsula tomorrow, just three days after a cyclone caused deaths and flooding in the war-torn country.

The people of Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea neighbour, are cowering in anticipation of another storm, expected to grow into a cyclone before it reaches land.

Just three days ago Cyclone Chapala, believed to be the most powerful storm to hit the region in decades, caused deaths and destroyed hundreds of homes on the island of Socotra. It then went on to kill at least eight people in the eastern coastal province of Hadramout. The port city of Mukalla was also flooded, and Jilaa – a village of around 1,150 people – was completely washed away.

ShelterBox is closely monitoring the situation as the new storm grows in ferocity out at sea. Our Operations Team is in touch with colleague agencies in Yemen.

ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Dave Ray says, We have been in contact with the coordination focal points and agencies in the wake of the last weather system affecting Yemen recently. As such we are well placed to get information on needs and aid gaps as they appear. At the present time there have been no requests for us to intervene or provide support to partners, but we will continue to monitor.’

This latest storm, badged as Megh 15, is expected to intensify into another cyclone over the next 24 hours. It is on course to make landfall on Sunday on the island of Socotra, 238 miles off the Yemen coast in the Arabian Sea, on Sunday. Socotra’s 50,000 residents have only had days to recover from cyclone Chapala.

The UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says this is the first time this area has seen back-to-back cyclones within a single week. The freak weather has been caused by the ‘Indian Ocean dipole’, a phenomenon similar to El Nino caused when sea surface temperatures are higher than usual. The dipole normally dies down in November, but there are fears that even a third cyclone could be brewing after Megh 15.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees says it is scaling up its response measures in preparation for Megh 15. Floods and hurricane winds have already displaced around 1,600 families in Hadramaut.

Yemen is already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis caused by the seven-month civil war between government forces and Houthi rebels. ShelterBox and other aid agencies have been concerned about Yemen since July, when fighting intensified causing the displacement of up to half a million people. Food and fuel are in short supply, and an increasing need for shelter is expected as storms and flooding add to the country’s problems.

The United Nations’ Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System has categorised the storm with an ‘Orange’ alert, meaning humanitarian impact is likely.

ShelterBox Learns From The Retail Giant Experts To Make Every Dollar Count

image of volunteer packing a ShelterBox

 

No two humanitarian disasters are the same, which means ShelterBox responses need to be flexible as well as fast. Always looking to improve value for families in need and for our donors, the charity has been working with LCP Consulting, experts in how to sharpen our supply chain.

When ShelterBox goes shopping for aid products, the whole world is its market place – boxes from Belgium, tents from China, Vietnam and Pakistan, solar lighting from the USA, water filters from the UK.

Getting the very best value for money means considering where each item is sourced, the reputation of its suppliers, and the cost of transporting it to our headquarters in Cornwall, UK for packing, or sometimes direct to a disaster zone. All this for an aid organisation that has to be prepared every day of the year for an unknown workload in unpredictable locations.

This complex map of sourcing, supply and storage needs constant review as new products and new trading routes emerge. So ShelterBox is fortunate to be working with one of the world’s major supply chain thought leaders, LCP Consulting. LCP has worked across many sectors, including retail, manufacturing, public services, chemicals, energy and automotive. They are using this vast knowledge to help ShelterBox develop a world class supply chain.

LCP also has an impressive list of household-name clients, including retail giants Marks & Spencer, ASDA, Hewlett Packard, Sony, British Airways, DHL Solutions, Unilever, Walmart, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Shell, Argos, and Tesco.

Alison Wallace, Chief Executive of ShelterBox, says, ‘Many of the lessons and logistics that help goods reach our supermarket shelves apply also to ShelterBox’s procurement needs, so the offer of working with LCP was very valuable to us. The aid products that we purchase must be of good quality, available in the quantities we need, and from sources that we can rely on to help us respond to sudden demand during a major disaster. We must also consider where in the world we position our supplies, for what duration, and how they should be stored.’

‘Although our workload is volatile and unpredictable from month to month, we absolutely have to deliver at the right time and value for money – our donors and supporters rightly expect nothing less.’

LCP features ShelterBox as one of its online case studies, amid dozens of national and international brands. It says, ‘Time was of the essence for an NGO that provides temporary shelter for displaced families in disaster zones. Working closely with their team to understand their business, we developed a solution to deliver improved value for money to donors, increased organisational capacity, and more effective response times. Strengthening their supply chain enabled them to deliver help where it was needed, and fast.’

Shelterbox asked LCP to review its processes and operations to provide an independent view on where improvements could be made. Their recommendations include shortening the lead times on product ordering where possible to minimise stock and storage costs. They recognised the need for fast on-the-ground response to support families who need aid, so advised ShelterBox on the forward deployment of stock and the availability of response teams, all aimed at increasing the charity’s deployment agility and reducing its costs.

In April this year ShelterBox itself offered advice to the retail industry about the challenges of delivering to parts of the world where there may not be roads, let alone postcodes. CEO Alison Wallace spoke at the Home Delivery World Europe conference to an audience including brands such as Harrods, Habitat and Disney, and product deliverers including eBay and Direct Link.

Spotlight On Disaster Risk Reduction And Response In The Pacific

 OCHA

SPOTLIGHT ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND RESPONSE IN THE PACIFIC

Suva, Fiji, 26 October 2015

 

Hundreds of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response partners from across the Pacific, including ShelterBox, are gathering in Suva this week for a joint program of events around regional resilience to disasters and emergency management.

 

The week starts with the two-day Pacific Regional Disaster Resilience Meeting which brings together disaster management agencies and others to discuss the challenges of improving disaster management across the region with a view to saving lives and reducing disaster losses.

 

“The Pacific is a challenging environment for disaster risk management. It is very exposed to extreme weather events such as Cyclone Pam which hit Vanuatu hard earlier this year. Parts of the region are now suffering drought and water shortages because of El Niño while others are preparing for the strong likelihood that they will be hit by high winds, storm surges and heavy rainfall in the months ahead,” Timothy Wilcox, Head of the Pacific office of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said.

 

“This week will be a first opportunity for the region to examine how to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which was adopted as a global blueprint for reducing disaster losses earlier this year. The Pacific region is well-placed to take a lead on showing the importance of being able to manage disaster risk as opposed to simply focusing on disaster response. A lot of good solutions will be shared this week.”

 

On Wednesday and Thursday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) hosts the annual Pacific Humanitarian Partnership Meeting which aims to strengthen relationships between actors working in disaster response, resilience and recovery, as well as make preparations for the season ahead.

 

“Humanitarian needs are on the rise across the world. In the Pacific, countries are acutely vulnerable to a range of increasing natural hazards and the emerging impacts of climate change.  It has never been more important for those working across development, humanitarian response and risk reduction to be synchronized. That’s what this joint program of events is all about,” Sune Gudnitz, Head of the UNOCHA, Regional Office for the Pacific said.

 

“With El Niño posing a risk to 4.6 million people across 11 countries in the region, this meeting will be a critical opportunity to plan for what is shaping as an intense period ahead. The meeting is also a forum for humanitarian and development actors in the Pacific to commit to actioning some of the outcomes from the World Humanitarian Summit regional consultations earlier this year, particularly around placing affected communities at the heart of our work and bridging the humanitarian-development divide.”

 

In the lead up to the joint program of events, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) last week held a two-day workshop bringing together Pacific Red Cross leadership and national disaster management representatives to explore how to strengthen legal frameworks for disasters in the region.

 

“Pacific Island countries are disproportionately affected by natural disasters, while there are many initiatives in resilience and preparedness what is often overlooked is the area of legal preparedness.  Not only can strong laws help to save lives in a disaster, but they can also contribute to building stronger, safer, more resilient communities,” Aurelia Balpe, Head of Pacific Regional Office, IFRC said.

 

On Friday, the European Union and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) will host a meeting of the Regional Steering Committee for the EUR 20 million EU-ACP Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific (BSRP) project. 

 

”I’m honoured to participate in this very important event with our partners to help Pacific Island countries build their resilience against disaster and climate change impacts. The EU has stood side-by-side with our Pacific friends and we are here to share and learn the lessons from disasters such as cyclone Pam and how we can do more and better,” the European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, His Excellency Andrew Jacobs said.

ShelterBox On Standby As A Massive Earthquake Rocks Afghanistan And Pakistan

Image of Afghan man in front of collapsed building

 

Disaster relief agency ShelterBox is monitoring the unfolding situation in north-eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan

Initial reports are of over 100 deaths as a powerful earthquake hit the mountainous Hindu Kush region of north-eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tremors from the magnitude 7.5 quake were also felt in northern India and Tajikistan.

The high magnitude is similar to the Nepal quakes of April and May, but the epicentre is far deeper at 213 km.

ShelterBox Operations Team Lead Alice Jefferson says, ‘This region is difficult to access, and volatile. It is unknown at this time whether ShelterBox assistance will be required, but damage is expected.’

The quake happened at 9.10 this morning GMT. 12 of the reported victims were schoolgirls killed in a crush as they tried to get out of their building, with a further 25 injured. The earthquake had its epicentre 45 miles south of Faizabad, says the US Geological Survey.

Buildings have been evacuated and communications disrupted in many areas. Deaths and injuries have also been reported in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. In Pakistan, the disaster management authority said 94 people had been confirmed dead in the north of the country.

The US Geological Survey says that such faults and their resultant earthquakes in this area are the direct result of the convergence between the India and Eurasia plates. This collision causes the uplift that produced the highest mountain peaks in the world, including the Himalayas and Hindu Kush ranges.

Alice adds, ‘We are awaiting more information on damage reports in Afghanistan and north-western Pakistan through news alerts. We will continue to monitor and engage with partners operating in the region.’

ShelterBox already has an existing contingency plan to provide a number of UN/IFRC spec tents to northern Afghanistan with a pertner organisation. The Logistics and Operations Teams are checking whether this shipment can be expedited if a major aid push is called for in the quake-hit region.

ShelterBox On Standby As Mexico Braces Itself For The Arrival Of ‘Potentially Catastrophic’ Hurricane Patricia

Patricia-1

 

ShelterBox is monitoring the course of Hurricane Patricia, expected to make landfall later today – evacuations and port closures are in progress along Mexico’s Pacific coast. The US National Hurricane Centre has described the category five storm as ‘potentially catastrophic’.

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox is closely monitoring events on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where a state of emergency has been declared across three states as Hurricane Patricia approaches. Wind speeds of up to 185 mph have already been reported by the EU’s emergency response co-ordination centre, in what is said to be the Pacific’s largest hurricane since 1997.

James Luxton, ShelterBox Operations Team Lead, says, ‘We will continue to monitor, and utilise our in-country contacts in Mexico, to be ready to react if required. We are preparing a response team, and will have them on standby.’

‘This is a significant Hurricane, but at this stage it is hard to gauge at what strength it will make landfall. Predictions are anywhere between category 3 to 5.’

In October last year ShelterBox responded to a force 3 to 4  hurricane in Mexico, but on that occasion found that the Mexican government and in-country NGOs were well prepared with an adequate response.

Patricia formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean three days ago. It started moving west, intensifying, and gradually turning northwest parallel to the Mexican coast. The hurricane is now forecast to approach the coasts of Colima and Jalisco States later today, making landfall between Cabo Corrientes and Manzanillo.

Mexican authorities have begun moving residents and closing ports. Some 400,000 people live in the hurricane’s potential path, according to Mexico’s National Disaster Fund. It could bring torrential rain, triggering flash floods and mudslides, with the possibility of coastal flooding in areas popular with tourists. Shops and businesses are boarding up their windows in Manzanillo as rain has started to fall.

At the beach village of Boca de Pascuales authorities have taken 70 people to a shelter. ‘We are patrolling communities on the coast in the Puerto Vallarta area as well as Melaque and La Huerta, urging the most vulnerable population to get to safety,’ Jalisco state civil protection director Jose Trinidad Lopez Rivas told local television. Schools have been closed, and two dams in Jalisco and Michoacan are being drained.

ShelterBox Monitors Typhoon Koppu In The Philippines

Response Team volunteer Harry Roberts with a ShelterBox relief tent in San Roca, Albay, Philippines August 2014.

Response Team volunteer Harry Roberts with a ShelterBox relief tent in San Roca, Albay, Philippines August 2014.

 

ShelterBox is standing by to help the islanders of Luzon in the Philippines, as 220 kmph winds and coastal surges have displaced an estimated 20,000 people on the country’s main island

In the largest displacement of people since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, as many as 20,000 are thought to have fled their homes in the Philippines.

Typhoon Koppu hit in the early hours of Sunday morning. Homes have been flattened, power lines brought down, and 12 foot sea surges have threatened coastal communities. But now it is heavy and continuous rain that is the main concern.

Koppu, also known as Lando, is up to 650 kilometres wide. The very slow-moving typhoon made landfall near the town of Casiguran on the island of Luzon. Luzon is the main administrational island, home to half the population of the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines. Meteorologists predict at least a further three days of torrential rain, maybe up to a metre, which brings the possibly of landslides and flash floods. The north of the island is mountainous, so upland communities are being affected by rivers in spate.

Only two casualties have been reported so far, one a teenage boy who died when a tree toppled onto houses in the capital Manila. The Philippine Government had advance notice of Koppu’s approach, and around 7,000 people were evacuated. President Benigno Aquino made a televised warning, the first time he has done so since super-typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300.

Those in the worst hit areas may need to find their own shelter, food and water for up to 72 hours until the typhoon passes over. There will be transport challenges for aid agencies until the torrential rain ceases. Although soldiers are at work clearing main roads of debris, power and communications remain damaged over large areas, and flights, ferries and public transport are interrupted.

ShelterBox responded to Haiyan in 2013, and continued to help throughout 2014 and into this year. As well as providing emergency shelter and reaching remote communities, the charity also worked in partnership with other agencies to provide 1,700 transitional shelters made largely from locally sourced materials, designed to better withstand the Philippines’ stormy climate.

ShelterBox has aid stored at key transport hubs across SE Asia, Australia and the Gulf, which could be mobilised if required. Its Operations HQ at Helston in Cornwall has response teams ready to deploy once the storm has subsided if help is requested by the Philippine Government, and once air and sea links are restored.

ShelterBox Goes To The Movies For New Bond Film’s Royal Premiere

photo of Daniel Craig as James Bond, in the cockpit of a crashed helicopter

 

ShelterBox is honoured to have been chosen as one of three charities to receive funds from this year’s Royal Film Performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 26 October.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have nominated ShelterBox to benefit from one of London’s biggest red carpet events, theRoyal Film Performance at the Royal Albert Hall, which this year will be the World Premiere of the 24th James Bond adventure, SPECTRE.

The Royal Film Performance is held in aid of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF), the charity for the UK film, cinema and commercial television industries, which provides support for those working behind the scenes in times of hardship. SPECTRE will be the third Bond film chosen since the Royal Film Performances began in 1946.

Their Royal Highnesses were invited to nominate two further charities to benefit from this year’s event. ShelterBox was chosen, in particular for its work in Nepal following the earthquakes, and Save the Children for their role helping families fleeing Syria and Iraq, and during the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The charities receive an equal share of the value of tickets, and sales of a special souvenir programme featuring a page about ShelterBox.

Before the performance Their Royal Highnesses will meet trustees and beneficiaries of the CTBF, representatives of Save the Children, and ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace. They will then meet members of the film’s cast and crew including Daniel Craig and Ralph Fiennes. The cast will be joined by director Sam Mendes, and producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who are vice patrons of the CTBF.

 

James bond with M, from the upcoming film SPECTRE

In SPECTRE, Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as Ian Fleming’s world famous secret agent, a cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation, while Ralph Fiennes as the new ‘M’ battles political forces to keep the secret service alive. The movie was shot at Pinewood Studios, and on location in London, Mexico City, Rome, Morocco and Austria.

ShelterBox’s Alison Wallace says, ‘For ShelterBox to have been put in the spotlight in this way, and given the chance to benefit from such a Royal and celebrity occasion, is a huge honour. The world’s media will be there, and we will have the chance to tell some very famous and influential people what we do, and how we do it.’

‘I suppose our own response volunteers could be considered international agents too, though a little less glamorous and secretive than 007. ShelterBox also responds to disaster and danger. But there the similarity ends. We are so grateful to the Royal family and to Sony Pictures for including us in the ‘cast list’ for this event, and hope that all our donors, supporters and volunteers share our pride in ShelterBox being selected.’

This is ShelterBox’s second brush with Hollywood action movie fame this year. Here in Australia, we  provided ShelterBoxes and tents for closing shots of a post-earthquake shelter camp at the climax of the winter blockbuster ‘San Andreas’ starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

San Andreas poster

 

SPECTRE is due for release in Australia on 12th November.

World Humanitarian Day – August 19th 2015

Young boy with ShelterBox activity pack

If you are a refugee who has crossed a border to seek safety, international law offers you some protection. But if you are displaced within your own country, you are often beyond help. On World Humanitarian Day disaster relief charity ShelterBox considers the plight of the world’s ‘IDPs’

The benign-sounding acronym ‘IDP’ is jargon for ‘internally displaced persons’. These people are neither true refugees nor migrants. Because they have not crossed a border – often trapped within their own country by fear, poverty or warfare – under international law they are not the responsibility of the United Nations.

An estimated 33.3 million people have been driven from their homes within their own countries because of violence, according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This figure grew by 8.2 million in 2013 alone, the greatest annual increase ever recorded. Conflict is the trigger for most families to run, but natural disasters – flooding, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, famine – also force millions from their homes each year. In 2013 almost 22 million people fled forces of nature within their own countries – the equivalent of one third of the UK’s population.

Shelterbox tents and Syrian refugees outside a village in Lebanon

Lebanon is home to more than 1 million Syrian refugees

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox provides shelter and vital supplies to families overwhelmed by conflict or catastrophe. Like other aid providers, it finds that IDPs fleeing conflict are among the hardest to reach. A team from ShelterBox plans to return to Iraq in the coming weeks to assess the ever-growing needs, both of refugees and IDPs. It will also consider its ongoing aid provision in Northern Syria, which is an entirely IDP issue.

ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace says, ‘It is a sad fact of our modern world that tens of millions of people are uprooted from their homes as a result of violence or persecution. But not all these people are refugees or migrants. Those statuses apply only once they have crossed a border. The families and individuals trapped within their country of origin may be on the run for similar reasons, but there are crucial differences in how the international community is able to respond to IDPs.’

Once across an international boundary refugees will normally receive food, shelter and a place of safety. They are protected by international laws and conventions, and the UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations such as ShelterBox work within this legal framework to help refugees restart their lives, maybe even eventually return home. Life may be harsh, but at least it is not without hope.

Alison adds, ‘By contrast, the internally displaced have little protection. Their domestic government may persecute them as enemies of the state, and they can fall prey to rebels and militias. Their fate is in the hands of others – homeless, hopeless, and often persecuted in their home country.’

Syrian school children hold their Shelterbox activity pack aloft.

With the help of Hand In Hand For Syria, ShelterBox has been able to provide aid to IDPs inside Syria

Under international law there are no specific legal instruments relating to IDPs, and there is no United Nations body dedicated to their needs. Charities can help, using determination, partnership and diplomacy, but their donors may be concerned about intervention in internal conflicts. There has been a long-running, but unresolved, global debate on who should be responsible for IDPs. UNHCR, set up to help refugees, is not specifically mandated to cover the needs of IDPs, although the Commission will occasionally find ways to oversee their protection and shelter. Some countries have also passed laws giving IDPs the right to social, economic and legal help. But these are rare.

ShelterBox has long been active in both Iraq and Syria. The UN estimates the number of people displaced by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq has now exceeded 3 million. Last August the world watched in horror as tens of thousands of Yazidi people were trapped in a siege on barren Mount Sinjar, having been forced from their villages. 300 men, women and children died of exposure before international aid reached them. Thousands were killed or kidnapped.

ShelterBox keeps prepositioned stock in Iraq, and continues working to provide shelter for Iraq’s IDPs in the Kurdistan region. But this is a harsh climate, with daytime temperatures currently of 50 degrees or more, and a punishing winter to follow.

In Syria the IDP drama has been unfolding for more than four years. 7.6 million people are thought to be displaced. There are 147 camps in Northern Syria sheltering only a very small fraction of them, just 40,000 households. ShelterBox has been getting tents and other non-food items into northern Syria since December 2012, using experienced in-country partners to navigate this dangerous territory. As the conflict has persisted over many years tents are now wearing out after long-term exposure to extreme sun and icy winters. These tents were meant to be for temporary emergency shelter, but with no ‘next stage’ solutions in sight, agencies have no option but to replace worn-out equipment. ShelterBox will offer replacement tents where it can, regardless of which agency was the original provider.

SchoolBoxes containing education equipment for makeshift schools have also reached pupils in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in the world. Aleppo is now crumbling as warfare and bombing take their toll.

ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Sam Hewett will be one of the team heading back to Iraq shortly. He says, ‘It is dispiriting to have to replace equipment that was only ever intended for short-term use, but there is no end in sight for these desperate families. We need to make them as comfortable as possible as another harsh winter approaches.’

Alison Wallace adds, ‘IDPs deserve our attention, not only because of their bleak existence, but because their status is so ill-defined in international law. Their need for safety, compassion and practical help is exactly the same as for those who have made it across borders to refugee camps, and if ShelterBox has the means to reach out to them, we feel strongly we should do so.’

 

If you would like support our work with refugees and IDPs around the world you can donate here:

www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au

Turning Up The Heat On The Greenhouse Effect

ShelterBox responding to flooding in Malawi, part of a growing climatic pattern across Africa.

ShelterBox responding to flooding in Malawi, part of a growing climatic pattern across Africa.

 

President Obama has drawn a line in the sand. By 2030 he wants US power companies to cut CO2 emissions by almost a third. Disaster relief charity ShelterBox, so often called to droughts, storms, famines and floods worldwide, applauds new climate change aims.

The tide may be turning at last on climate change. Major new regulations were announced by the US President last week, alongside the 193 member states of the United Nations agreeing a global agenda for sustainable development.

President Obama’s executive order, which will bypass Congress, aims to combat global warming by cutting carbon emissions from U.S. power plants,slashing America’s energy bills and improving the health of the vulnerable. Declaring climate change ‘the greatest threat facing the world’, he will legislate for the American power sector to cut its emissions by 32 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

In the very same week, following a fortnight of negotiations and all-night sessions, the United Nations unveiled its sustainable development agenda of 17 clear goals. There was a standing ovation and cheering by diplomats when agreement was reached on the targets, which include improved water and energy management, and urgent action to combat climate change. World leaders will meet in New York from 25 September to formally adopt the new agenda, and His Holiness Pope Francis will address the United Nations before the summit.

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox responds every year to natural disasters linked to climate change. Chief Executive Alison Wallace says, ‘It is very heartening to see world leaders finally signing up to combat global warming. Climate is the root cause of so many of the world’s disasters, bringing untold misery to families forced from their homes by extreme weather, by floodwaters, or by drought.’

 

Buildings devastated by Typhoon haiyan

2013’s Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall

But delivering the UN’s agenda will come at a huge cost to the member states. The overall price tag for meeting these sustainability goals is the equivalent of the United States’ annual federal budget of $3.8 trillion. But the argument is that failing to meet them will cost lives, lost crops and farmland, and an enforced nomadic lifestyle for millions.

A 2015 report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) predicts that within a decade up to 20% of the global population will experience periods of intense drought, and 50 million people will live in areas that are on the verge of becoming uninhabitable deserts. 

 

The Horn of Africa drought of 2011 forced hundreds of thousands to migrate in search of food and water

The Horn of Africa drought of 2011 forced hundreds of thousands to migrate in search of food and water

Alison adds, ‘On our planet one person in every seven has been forced to migrate in search of food or a livelihood, or to flee natural disasters caused by increasingly violent climates. This constant shifting of huge populations makes headlines, but the greenhouse effect that drives them is often overlooked. Climate change sparks both conflict and economic migration, causing families to abandon their homes and head for safety and the prospect of better living conditions.’

‘So often these are journeys of abject misery and poverty, and agencies such as ShelterBox can ease the suffering of only a limited number of families. Many more are beyond our reach.’ Right now ShelterBox is providing aid in parched Iraq, in severe flooding in Myanmar, North Korea, Niger and Chile, and in the seemingly endless conflict in Syria.

Last week in the White House President Obama said, We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change. We’re the last generation that can do something about it. We only get one home. We only get one planet. There’s no plan B.’ When he met Sir David Attenborough in May he addressed the need for urgency. ‘I don’t have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real. We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat earth society.’

Alison Wallace says, ‘Hopefully urgency will drive international commitment. This is a going to be a long process, and no-one pretends we will see any easing of the need for disaster relief in the short term. But at least with these two announcements there is growing recognition that climate change is closely linked to the tragedy of populations on the move. In the meantime, whatever the cause, ShelterBox remains fully committed to meeting the needs of refugees, migrants and the displaced.’

 

Rotary International Convention 2015, Sao Paula

Rotary International logoShelterBox had a strong presence at the Rotary International Convention, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. ShelterBox HQ staff, affiliate and Response Team volunteers were on hand to answer questions from Rotarians from around the world.

Throughout the weekend, a video was played to demonstrate the relationship between ShelterBox and Rotary and how the partnership has helped to reach and shelter people following the Nepal earthquakes. You can watch it here: