ShelterBox Deploys To Haiti as Hurricane Matthew Pounds The Caribbean

hurricane-matthew

ShelterBox is sending aid and a Response Team to Haiti in the wake of the most powerful Caribbean hurricane in nearly a decade.

ShelterBox already has some aid stored in Haiti and large stocks of aid in Panama, ready to assist during the hurricane season.  With airports closed, some of this aid has already been dispatched from Curacao aboard the Dutch Navy vessel HMNS Holland. The aid includes water filtration equipment which will be vital given the flooding, solar lighting to assist during electricity black outs, blankets, special shelter kits of tools and tarpaulins to help weatherproof damaged buildings.

Operations Team Lead Andrew Clark says, The situation is still very fluid. We are still awaiting an official invitation to respond from the Haitian Government, and clarity on the most effective and safe transport routes. But we are impatient to help the people of Haiti who have yet again faced a terrifying natural disaster.’

The intention is that I will lead an experienced team of nine, some of whom deployed to Haiti following the quake in 2010. At present we expect to be able to mobilise on Friday, but we must await the re-opening of air routes, and the safety of our staff and volunteers is paramount.’

ShelterBox is also standing by to help other countries along Matthew’s expected course.’

There have been a number of deaths in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which together comprise the island of Hispaniola. Death tolls are expected to rise as the extent of damage emerges. In the port town of Les Cayes an estimated 70,000 people were affected by flooding, and many of the area’s insubstantial houses had lost roofs. The UN said that Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, was facing the largest humanitarian eventsince the earthquake in 2010.

With advance warnings at least 10,000 people were evacuated to shelters, but the UN has since reported overcrowded hospitals and fresh water shortages, with fears of waterborne disease. An estimated four million children may have been exposed to hurricane damage.

Meteorologists expect Hurricane Matthew to become less forceful as it moves on from Cuba later today, but precautions are being taken already in Florida, the Bahamas, and along the eastern seaboard of the USA. Current tracking indicates the storm may reach Maryland and New Jersey as late as noon on Sunday.    

You can those affected in Haiti and in other countries affected by disaster by donating here:

PLEASE DONATE

ShelterBox and ACTED have transformed unfinished buildings into habitable houses for Iraq’s families on the run from Islamic State

Seje-view over buildings-and desert ©ShelterBox/ACTED

Seje, Iraq – view over buildings and desert ©ShelterBox/ACTED

A half-finished home is safer than no home at all. Nearly 2,000 people have sheltered, sweltered and shivered in these breeze block shells for over two years. Now ShelterBox and partner agency ACTED have transformed and weatherproofed unfinished buildings in a Northern Iraq village.

ShelterBox Response Team volunteer, Rachel Harvey reports from Iraq

 

Seje is a village like no other. It is largely made up of houses belonging to members of the Kurdish diaspora, but many of the building projects stalled when the local economy crashed in the face of continued conflict and a falling oil price.

The walls and roofs are there, but windows, doors and paintwork were never completed. Around 2,000 of Iraq’s internally displaced people – as many as thirty sharing a single house – were offered temporary refuge here. For most, ‘temporary’ has turned into a protracted two years, and there is no immediate prospect of a return home.

So disaster relief partners ShelterBox and ACTED launched a joint project to provide ‘sealing off’ kits to make good the houses. PVC windows and doors, wood, tarpaulins, tools and fixings were given to households to seal-up the open spaces. At last these long-suffering families are protected from dust, animals, bugs, summer heat and winter cold, and have some measure of privacy.

Barkat Ibraheem Khalaf with daughters and granddaughter, Jyan ©ShelterBox/ACTED

Barkat Ibraheem Khalaf with daughters and granddaughter, Jyan ©ShelterBox/ACTED

Barkat Ibraheem Khalaf (photo 2nd left) lives with his extended family in the village. Sixteen people share a house including five children, one of them just 13 days old when ShelterBox visited this month. The infant, Barkat’s granddaughter, has been named Kanawer, which means ‘where is our home?’ in Kurdish. 

The Khalaf family home was once a small town called Gar Azer Shengal nestled behind Sinjar Mountain. But the town was overrun by Islamic State forces in 2014. The family fled and has been living in the unfinished building in Seje ever since.

‘Before we had this we just had some thin plastic sheeting,’ said Barkat. ‘It was terrible. In the summer everything was covered in dust. In the winter the rain came in. It was like a flood with the kids paddling around in the water.’

Now things are much better he says. The sealing off kits from ACTED and ShelterBox have provided protection from the elements and Barkat says it was all easy to install because the correct tools were provided. The family’s original home back in Gar Azer Shengal has been destroyed and the village is ‘occupied’. If Islamic State is driven out of Iraq will the family return? ‘I can’t say yes or no,’ he said. ‘There is no trust anymore.’

Barkat’s family and many of their neighbours in Seje are survivors of one of the most notorious episodes in the Kurdish battle against so-called Islamic State. In August 2014 IS seized control of the city of Sinjar in Nineveh province. There were reports of mass executions and women being taken into slavery – the UN records that 5,000 Yazidi civilians died. An exodus of hundreds of thousands of people onto barren Mount Sinjar followed. Aid was dropped by helicopter, but over the coming weeks only one in ten was able to leave the exposed mountain and head for displacement camps. Seje and its abandoned and unfinished houses offered some protection to around 2,000 of these battle-weary travellers.

Twin girls born 31st August 2016, still unnamed when photo taken ©ShelterBox/ACTED

Twin girls born 31st August 2016, still unnamed when photo taken ©ShelterBox/ACTED

Among the displaced citizens of Seje are twin girls born 31 August 2016, still unnamed when our photo was taken (photo top left).

Also Hanif, a widow age 45 who was stranded on Mount Sinjar for eighteen terrifying days. Hanif says there was no water or food beyond the meagre supplies they had carried with them. The very day they fled to the mountain Hanif’s daughter gave birth to baby Afreen, which means ‘creation’. Afreen is now age 2 (photo top left) so has spent all her young life in the makeshift dwellings of Seje. Hanif shares half a divided house with her daughter and three granddaughters.

The building, like most others in Seje, was just an unfinished shell when they moved into it, no windows or doors, only gaps in the concrete walls. They tried blocking up the gaps with stones and bricks but that cut off all natural light and the house was very dark. Now that ACTED and ShelterBox have stepped in, new hard-wearing windows and a door have been installed, keeping out the dust in summer and the cold and rain in winter. ‘It was very hard to keep things clean before.’ Hanif said. ‘Now things are much better. We are protected inside.’

Seje-Khudedo and family ©ShelterBox/ACTED

Seje – Khudedo and family ©ShelterBox/ACTED

Khudedo and his extended family (left) were forced to flee from their homes in Telazeer near Sinjar in August of 2014. From a community of 1,200 people Khudedo thinks only 100-150 were rescued or escaped. The rest were captured or killed. He recalls being trapped on Sinjar mountain. ‘Those times were really difficult. No food or water. We were really afraid.’ The nearest small spring was a 10km walk away, and the journey was far from safe. Khudedo explained that at one point they were so short of water they began using the caps from plastic water bottles to measure out rations for each person.

After a while a safe corridor opened up, and Khudedo was able to arrange a few vehicles to help bring his family to safety after walking close to ten hours. He and his sons were construction workers in Seje, working on the very house where ShelterBox recently found them. They knew the owner of the house lived abroad and would not be returning, so they contacted him and he graciously allowed them to live there in his absence. The home is large, but Khudedo lives there with his five sons and their families – around 30 people in total.

The ‘sealing off kits’ have made a great difference. Khudedo recounted having to shake out all their clothes and household items every day as the rooms would fill with dust. During the winter, they blocked the windows with stones to keep out the cold and wind, but the rooms would be so dark it was difficult to see. ‘These windows and doors really have made all the difference, and even though this will not be our house forever, our family finally feels safe and happy living here.’

His family longs for the day when they can return home, but they are afraid of what they might find. ‘We don’t know the condition of our homes or if anything is even still there. We don’t know how long it will take for the fighting to stop. We have the skills to rebuild our house, but we have no money left and no materials. We are also afraid of returning because Islamic State were our neighbours and they might still be there. We cannot return unless we have protection.’

Hanif, 45 and her granddaughter Afreen, 2yrs ©ShelterBox/ACTED

Hanif, 45 and her granddaughter Afreen, 2yrs ©ShelterBox/ACTED

ACTED and ShelterBox are now preparing to respond to an anticipated humanitarian disaster centred on the city of Mosul, Islamic State’s last stronghold in Iraq. A military offensive aimed at liberating the city is expected to trigger a massive displacement of people, an estimated 600,000 or more. Initially aid will be focused on increasing the capacity of camps for internally displaced people in Northern Iraq, but a second phase will offer portable aid to people on the move.

ShelterBox is funding the sourcing of basic non-food items kits and shading materials, ACTED is purchasing them locally and arranging storage, delivery, and distribution to displaced families. ACTED and ShelterBox have partnered many times before around the world, most recently after the Nepal quakes in 2015 when they sourced shelter materials in country and delivered them to some of the highest-altitude communities on the planet.

You can support our efforts by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

ShelterBox congratulates long-term partner, IOM as it joins the United Nations

un2

 

Displacement and human mobility were in the spotlight this week as the UN gathered for the first ever ‘Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.’ Monday’s signing ceremony at the start of the Summit saw IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon formalising IOM’s entry into the UN system.

This week the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) officially became a related organisation of the UN, finally giving it for the first time an explicit migration mandate.

Across the world, one person in every 113 is now an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee. If they formed a country, it would be the 21st largest. At the end of 2015 there were 65.3 million forcibly displaced people.

Migration and human mobility are now characteristic of our age, with one in seven people worldwide living or working somewhere other than their place of birth. Astonishing figures like these were the focus of  Monday’s major UN summit in New York. The aim was to forge a consensus on managing our nomadic world, particularly those driven from their homelands by conflict or natural forces.

Central to the discussion is the IOM which was born in 1951 out of the chaos and displacement of Western Europe following WW2. IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration, and does so by advising governments and providing assistance to migrants all over the world. IOM has frequently partnered  disaster relief charity ShelterBox, after the Haiti and Nepal earthquakes, in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, helping Burundian refugees in Tanzania last year, and with partnership working around Syria.

ShelterBox response team volunteer Martin Strutton helping families fleeing violence from Burundi to Tanzania – a joint ShelterBox IOM deployment in 2015

ShelterBox Response Team volunteer Martin Strutton helping families fleeing violence from Burundi to Tanzania – a joint ShelterBox IOM deployment in 2015

ShelterBox’s Operations Co-ordinator Phil Duloy was among those to congratulate IOM colleagues on their new status in the United Nations. ‘This is of great credit to IOM, who for over 65 years have cared for those who find themselves fleeing disaster or conflict.’

‘This new role at the heart of the UN is absolutely timely, as displacement and migration are the greatest forces currently at work on our planet. We have worked with IOM all over the world in many disaster zones, and they have always brought immense knowledge and experience to those partnerships.’

‘ShelterBox sends its congratulations to IOM on a worthwhile and well-deserved honour.’

Ambassador Swing emphasised that the process reflected a growing recognition of the importance of migration, and the need to better link human mobility with related policy agendas, including humanitarian, development, human rights, climate change, and peace and security.

Most powerful typhoon since Haiyan wreaks havoc across Taiwan and coastal China

 

satellite image of Typhoon Meranti

Image © EUMETSAT

China and Taiwan are counting the cost of Super-Typhoon Meranti, the most powerful storm to make landfall in SE Asia since deadly Haiyan in 2013, and the strongest so far anywhere in the world this year

The typhoon season got off to a violent start in the last 24 hours as a category five typhoon – the highest rating – caused damage and evacuation across three countries in South East Asia. Super-typhoon Maranti made landfall on the China coast around Fujian Province earlier today, having already tracked across small Philippine islands in the Luzon Strait, and caused major blackouts and structural damage in Taiwan.

Maranti has hit China during a three day festival and public holiday, flooding streets, crushing cars, and forcing mass evacuations from homes and harbours in the path of the storm.

It is the strongest typhoon to hit that part of China since 1949, with winds of up to 230 miles per hour. Although wind speeds lessened after landfall, and it has since been downgraded to a category 2, they were strong enough to knock down trees and smash windows. A bizarre image was of a giant inflated moon sculpture careering down Xiamen’s city streets, dislodged from part of a display marking the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The powerful storm first brushed southern Taiwan, killing one person and injuring 44. Almost a million homes lost power, and half a million had water supply problems. Hundreds of thousands of buildings are in need of repair on Taiwan. Forewarning of the typhoon caused tens of thousands of people to be evacuated, and fishing fleets to be called back to port.

Although the Philippines avoided most of the storm, there are fears for those on some small inhabited islands in the Luzon Strait, including 3000 who live on Itbayat. It is not known yet how well they were able to either evacuate or shelter.

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox has been monitoring Meranti’s course over recent days. ShelterBox has years of experience in assisting Philippine communities during the annual hurricane seasons, and was a major aid player following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which killed 6,300.

Alice Jefferson, from ShelterBox’s Operations team in Cornwall, UK says, ‘Meranti signals the start of a season which sees powerful storms brewing out in the Pacific, and tracking across various parts of SE Asia, particularly the hundreds of Philippine islands. For most areas Meranti came with sufficient warning for preparations to be made, but nonetheless there has been widespread damage, distress and injury.’

‘ShelterBox is standing by to see whether any Philippine islanders need our assistance, and whether their Government calls for aid. Taiwan and China have well-developed emergency provision, so it is unlikely the international community would be called to assist.’

Relief Aid Worker Killed By Sniper In Aleppo

ReliefAid chief speaks after one of his Aleppo aid colleagues was killed by a sniper. ShelterBox’s partner charity welcomes ceasefire for Syrian families living in ‘hell on earth’

The Al Zubdia neighbourhood of southern Aleppo, near the ReliefAid offices where Karam died

The Al Zubdia neighbourhood of southern Aleppo, near the ReliefAid offices where Karam died

A little over a week ago aid worker Karam died from a sniper’s bullet after working on the roof of his charity’s office in southern Aleppo. Now, with a tense and fragile ceasefire underway, his colleagues are calling on ‘all parties to take up this unique opportunity for peace.’

Executive Director of ReliefAid, Mike Seawright, describes the circumstances of the death of one of his aid team in Aleppo on Sunday 4 September. 

‘It was at our ReliefAid office in Al Zubdia neighbourhood. Karam was part of our team for the last year, conducting our neighbourhood aid distributions. After our previous office had been wrecked during an air strike he was fixing the water tank on the roof of the new office when he was shot by a sniper. Karam was rushed to the local hospital where he underwent six hours of surgery, unfortunately succumbing to his injuries. His family and our team buried him the next day in a local neighbourhood garden.’

Karam (name changed for security reasons) leaves a wife and three daughters in East Aleppo (2, 7 and 10 years old), two sons in Lebanon (20 and 18 years old). He also had family in West Aleppo, and was a citizen of Aleppo city.

Mike Seawright adds, ‘The local neighbourhood gardens used to be places where children play. Now they are graveyards, filled by the very community to whom they used to bring solace and tranquillity.’

Mike Seawright, Executive Director of ReliefAid.

Mike Seawright, Executive Director of ReliefAid.

‘Delivering aid in war zones presents many challenges, and while we accept the risks associated with this work it is a complete shock to us when we lose one of our own. Karam’s humanitarian ethos and efforts supported the delivery of life-saving support to over 24,000 people living in East Aleppo, the most war torn city in the world. He represented the very best of Syria, where communities help communities, families help families, and Syrians irrespective of background help one another.’

‘Inspiringly while the death of our friend and work mate has saddened us, and our teams are aware of the risks they face, unanimously and without pause they are continuing our life-saving work. While we face many challenges delivering war zone aid, I am constantly motivated by a team that, even in the face of personal danger and loss, continue to support their communities. Families experience acute needs within the city, and our teams stand ready to assist those in dire need.’

A nationwide ceasefire in Syria, brokered by the United States and Russia, came into effect on Monday evening, with aid agencies preparing to send food and medical supplies to besieged Aleppo. Turkish sources said over thirty aid trucks, under UN supervision, were ready to deliver humanitarian supplies to the city.

‘In a war which is targeting civilians and humanitarian workers on a daily basis we welcome the recent cessation of hostilities. If held, the ‘cease-fire’ will have a positive impact on over one million people living in Aleppo City. On behalf of Syrian families living in what can only be described as ‘hell on earth’ we call on all parties to take up this unique opportunity for peace.’

Moving tributes were also paid by Karam’s work colleagues. They said:

‘He was so kind to me, he would take me to his house to eat cooked food as I am single and don’t know how to cook.’

‘We lose friends every day. This is not the first time but we are feeling so bad. There is no escape, this is our life.’

‘I want only one thing, I want to die in dignity on my ground. I can’t see any more children die in bad ways as the world sits idly by watching.’

ShelterBox has worked with New Zealand-based ReliefAid over a long period, and most recently provided 4,000 aid packages to families in Aleppo. The kits provided are a mix of essentials including water purification equipment, jerry cans, mats, solar lamps, tarpaulins, mosquito nets and kitchen sets.

ShelterBox helping the displaced residents of Darraya, Syria

End of a four year siege. Victims of ‘starvation or surrender’ war zone head towards a displacement camp of ShelterBox UN style tents

Hand In Hand for Syria volunteers unload ShelterBox aid in Idlib

For a gruelling four years, residents of Darraya in the Syrian capital Damascus have lived under siege, with little aid and people starving to death. A new deal is seeing thousands of civilians moved to displacement camps in the south and north, where ShelterBox tents are waiting.

Caught since 2012 between the regime and the rebels, the people of Darraya in Damascus have endured a miserable four years as pawns in a deadly stand-off. An unknown number have died in fighting, bombing, or of malnutrition.

Over the weekend a huge evacuation was triggered by a military deal to cease fighting, which has been characterised as a long running ‘starve or surrender’ strategy. An estimated 8,000 civilians moved by foot and then onto aid buses to uncertain futures in displacement camps either in Sahnaya to the south west, or to Idlib in the north. 

ShelterBox has supplied thirty large UN-style tents and other non-food items to a camp in Idlib Governorate near the Turkish border. Much of this aid was trucked in months ago, and more is queuing at the border. The tents have been delivered and erected by ShelterBox’s in-country partner organisation, London-based Hand in Hand for Syria.

Around fifty green and white buses, eight ambulances and several Red Crescent and UN vehicles stood ready early on Friday waiting for the signal to drive into Darraya. The suburb of Damascus now lies in ruins. Tearful residents said their final goodbyes. This is the hardest moment, everyone is crying, young and old,’ said one resident. The first buses to emerge with evacuees carried mostly children, elderly people and women.

ShelterBox Operations Co-ordinator Sam Hewett says, The siege of Darraya has been one of the longest-running human tragedies in Syria. Although thousands have left their homes this weekend, they are heading to safer places where there will be food, water and shelter. An exodus on this scale is hard to witness, but at least ShelterBox and Hand in Hand for Syria have been able to provide some comfort for these weary people displaced by war.’

HIHS volunteers unload a truck

United Nation’s humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien reported to the Security Council earlier this year that the lack of food in Darraya was forcing some people to eat grass, and that residents were burning plastics as fuel. No one will remain here,’ said Hussam Ayash from Darraya.Our condition has deteriorated to the point of being unbearable.’

The UN said it was not involved in negotiating the deal, but that a team will enter Darraya to identify civilian needs. UN envoy Staffan de Mistura says, It is tragic that repeated appeals to lift the siege of Darraya and cease the fighting have never been heeded. He added it is ‘imperative’ that its residents be protected, and evacuated only voluntarily, adding, The world is watching.’

You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

Italy earthquake – ShelterBox may have a role in recovery, but not for emergency shelter.

Saturday was a day of national mourning in Italy for the almost 300 people known to have died in last week’s overnight earthquake. Over 1,000 aftershocks since, some as powerful as 4.7, have made residents, emergency services and aid workers fearful that damaged structures may topple.

Road access to the near-demolished historical town of Amatrice is threatened by structural worries about its last remaining bridge. ‘Let’s hope it doesn’t collapse or the town will be cut off from both sides’ Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said. The hilltop town has been declared a red zone, with no access permitted except for emergency services. No-one has been pulled alive from the rubble since last Wednesday, so the search and rescue phase is winding down as hopes fade, though the Government has pledged to continue locating the deceased.

For ShelterBox’s team, based with Civil Protection, government and other aid agencies in nearby Rieti less than 30 miles from the epicentre, the focus is now on how to help residents cope in the aftermath, and the whole area to recover. Rieti also has a makeshift mortuary in an aircraft hangar, where relatives have been identifying loved ones.

Italy Ed-006

ShelterBox is principally a provider of emergency and transitional shelter and other emergency relief items. But the disaster area already has tented space for around 3,000 people provided by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, less than half of which is occupied.

In this predominantly agricultural and tourist area, with its high proportion of second homes for holidaying Italians, displaced people have opted to stay with friends and family, to sleep in cars near to their properties, or to take up the widespread offer of free accommodation in guest houses and private rentals. The quake zone is around ninety minutes’ drive from Rome, so there is no lack of in-country aid resources.

ShelterBox offered to supply tents to supplement hospital facilities, as it did last year after Nepal’s quakes, but around half the injured are from Rome and are being treated there, and others in Rieti and other towns in the Lazio region.

But ShelterBox has been exploring a potential role in rural recovery, talking to the Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori, This is a network of agricultural workers who may be able to help reach very remote settlements and individual homesteads that have less access to assistance. The area has a rural economy based on agri-tourism and the farming of very precious and protected crops and livestock. A subsection of the Confederazione, the Young Farmers of Lazio, have already helped provide machinery for earthquake rescue, cleared roads, and managed tourist accommodation as emergency shelter.

Where remote farm dwellings have been damaged it is hoped that highly portable ShelterBoxes might offer tented shelter, solar lighting, warmth for the approaching autumn, and water filtration where sources have been contaminated by the quake. Details will need to be hammered out, as Italian regulations require sanitation systems anywhere that tents are set up.

Collapsed house in Amatrice

ShelterBox’s Italy team leader Phil Duloy says, ‘The senior Civil Protection member we met agreed in principle to support our efforts, if we are able to offer them. This would be a valuable contribution to helping a delicate economy and a rural population recover from a damaging blow.’

‘This is one of Europe’s most significant agricultural areas, and it will be important for farmers and food producers to remain on their land to maintain their livelihoods so they recover economically and are able to continue contributing to Italy’s food stocks.’

ShelterBox’s Clio Gressani, an Italian national who works in the charity’s London office and is a member of the team currently in Rieti, told BBC Breakfast, ‘There is a need to help remote farmers because this area is quite particular with very small communities on mountains and hills. The farmers need to stay close to their farms and animals to protect them. Cows need to be milked, and the harvesting season is coming up. Most of their buildings have collapsed, so it would be important that they have a shelter to stay close to their rural activity.’ 

ShelterBox’s Italian affiliate organisation, based in Milan, will maintain dialogue with Civil Protection and other Italian organisations. Rotary colleagues in Italy have also been helpful providing transport and arranging accommodation for the ShelterBox team.

ShelterBox may have a special role helping farmers to stay on damaged farms and vineyards in Italy’s earthquake zone

ShelterBox team in Italy

 

The Italy earthquake zone now marred with broken buildings and damaged roads is, in happier times, one of the world’s richest agricultural areas. But this rural economy is now in shock, and farmers need to stay on their farms even where homes are damaged. ShelterBox is in talks offering help  

The Confederazione Italiana del Agricultura recognizes the hilly landscape shaken by massive quakes and tremors this week as one of the world’s showpieces for agriculture, food and wine.

Amatrice, its ancient buildings now mostly in ruins, is regarded as the seat of the Italian food agricultural industry, and is home to the ‘Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park’ where many unique species are protected.

While the focus has been on damage and casualties in towns and villages, there is widespread concern that farmers may have to leave their fields, vineyards and livestock unattended because they have nowhere to shelter since the quake.

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox has been in talks today with the Confederazione Italiana del Agricultura about a solution. Once the Confederazione has examined the need across hundreds of smallholdings and farms, the door is open for ShelterBox to return to help farmers recover and rebuild.

ShelterBoxes – easily portable and ideal for delivery to inaccessible locations – may provide the ideal temporary solution. Each has a hardy tent for properties left without shelter in the forthcoming autumn and winter, solar lighting where power is down, and water filtration where pipes and sources have been damaged and drinking water has been compromised.

ShelterBox Operations Co-ordinator Jon Berg says, ‘At the moment we have found an over-provision of tented shelter in the quake zone, and much aid stock may well be sent back. ShelterBox does not yet have any inbound aid, but this conversation today with the Confederazione raises the possibility that ShelterBoxes may meet a very specific longer term need, helping Italian farmers and the rural economy to recover.’

The network of agricultural workers is mostly in remote settlements and on individual homesteads which have less access to assistance than village and town dwellers. At the moment it is reported that much of the displaced population are staying with friends, family, or in their cars parked in front of their homes – not only because of personal attachment, but to guard against looting of their possessions.

ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Phil Duloy is shown the damaged region

Also characteristic of this area is holiday home ownership by people who work and live in Rome for most of the year. ‘Agri-tourism’ properties are common here. The area is noted for its olive groves, grapes, even tobacco. Unique species of wild orchids are also found.

ShelterBox has had a team of three based in Rieti, and there is continuing support and contact with its Milan-based affiliate and with local Rotarians.

You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

Watch ShelterBox on CNN here: CNN

ShelterBox team arrives in quake zone as journalists and bystanders advised to leave Amatrice

Aerial photo of a flattened Amatrice

 

ShelterBox team arrives in quake zone as ‘the town is crumbling’ with further tremors. Desperate search for survivors continues, as people sleep outdoors, in cars, in tents

ShelterBox is drawing on all its strengths in responding to the Italy quake. In-country affiliates and local Rotarians have helped the charity’s response team to ‘hit the ground running’ as they arrive in the quake zone today. But the damage is immense, and the ground still shakes

There is little time yet to count the human cost of the earthquake that has levelled the Italian mountain towns and villages of Rieti and Ascoli Piceno provinces. Italy’s National Service of Civil Protection says the possibility of finding people alive is falling as time goes by, but nonetheless 5,000 people are still involved in a massive rescue effort.

The BBC reports that journalists and bystanders have been advised to quit Amatrice as ‘the town is crumbling’, almost completely razed by the ongoing quakes and is expected to have the greatest number of victims. Here, a frantic race against the clock to find any survivors continues. Rescuers were heartened as some children have been found alive, but the overall toll is expected to exceed that of the quake in 2009 in Abruzzo when over 300 people died.

On the second night since the initial quake, there were reports of people spending the night in cars or outdoors, as well as in communal tents provided by the Red Cross and Italian agencies. 

People sleeping outside under a tree

International relief agency ShelterBox now has a response team in the quake zone, arrangements having been made in advance by ShelterBox Italy based in Milan, and by Rotary contacts. Operations Co-ordinator Phil Duloy is heading the team, with Cornwall-based response volunteer Ed Owen, and Italian national Clio Gressani from ShelterBox’s London office.

At ShelterBox’s HQ, Operations Co-ordinator Jon Berg says, We have a team on its way to the affected area to coordinate with the responding agencies and carry out assessments to ascertain the level of need, the options available and most appropriate response from us.’

‘Our Italian contacts and affiliate have been updating us with information since yesterday morning so that we are able to hit the ground running. Our work could potentially include supporting people close to their homes, depending on the safety of each situation, or in community camps planned by the local authorities.’

‘But their first task will be getting a better understanding of the situation and the need.’

With thousands of aid workers now helping across the region it is also possible that ShelterBox could offer temporary accommodation for humanitarian teams from colleague agencies.

Among ShelterBox’s range of aid are a variety of tents, kits with tools and tarpaulins for making temporary shelters, and helpful items such as solar lights to be used where power is down, offering safety and security to displaced families in hours of darkness.

You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

ShelterBox sends team to Italy following 6.2 quake southeast of Perugia

Italian rescue worker with search dog in Perugia, Italy

 

A severe earthquake at 1:36 am GMT struck south-east of the Italian city of Perugia last night, killing at least 21, with an unknown number trapped beneath rubble in several villages. This was a shallow quake in a mountainous area, with tremors felt as far away as Rome

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox, based in the UK but with an affiliate organisation in Milan, is sending a team within 24 hours to the remote mountainous area of Italy that suffered a major quake and a series of tremors during last night.

ShelterBox Operations Co-ordinaror Phil Duloy is heading up initial assessment work, and is now making contact with local and government officials in Italy, with ShelterBox’s Rotary and affiliate colleagues, and with partner disaster relief organisations including the Red Cross.

If emergency or temporary shelter is needed for families and individuals made homeless in the disaster, ShelterBox has adequate supplies of tents and other equipment standing by in the UK and at other sites across Europe.

In recent years ShelterBox has deployed to Italian earthquakes twice. In 2012 it supplied 132 tents following a 6.0 quake, and in 2009 in Abruzzo when over 300 people died in a 6.3 quake the charity deployed 294 ShelterBoxes.

Early morning with frost still on the ground, local volunteers from Assergi, a small m ountain village North of Rome, erect Shelterbox tents. The villagers are too scared of further quakes to sleep in their homes and many have spent their second, cold night in their cars.

Early morning with frost still on the ground, local volunteers from Assergi, a small mountain village North of Rome, erect Shelterbox tents. The villagers are too scared of further quakes to sleep in their homes and many have spent their second, cold night in their cars. ©Mike Greenslade/ShelterBox 2009

You can help ShelterBox’s disaster relief efforts in Italy and elsewhere by donating to the ‘ShelterBox Solution’ here: PLEASE DONATE