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.

Refugee Crisis In Europe – The Suffering On Lesbos Makes Headlines Again

Refugees disembark an inflatable boat on the shores of Lesbos, a man carries two children to shore

 

The Greek island of Lesbos has become a focus on the refugee trail again, as wet weather, illness and lack of shelter make conditions miserable for families arriving from Turkey.  ShelterBox is considering a return to Lesbos, but is finding barriers to helping its refugees.

In September disaster relief agency ShelterBox left the island of Lesbos – one of the Greek entry points for refugees fleeing the Middle East – after weeks of providing shelter and shade in respite camps, and generally improving conditions on an island overwhelmed.

Now Lesbos is one of the refugee hotspots making headlines again, as journalists, broadcasters, medics and politicians highlight the continuing suffering playing out on European soil.

Last week broadcaster and writer Lliana Bird quoted a doctor on Lesbos saying,‘There are thousands of children here and their feet are literally rotting, they can’t keep dry, they have high fevers and they’re standing in the pouring rain for days on end. You have one month guys, and then all these people will be dead.’ Lliana noted that, ‘There is very little visible support or help from large charities or governments.’

Now UK Labour MP, Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Opposition’s refugee taskforce,has written to David Cameron urging him to offer ‘immediate’ humanitarian aid to Lesbos after witnessing shocking scenes first-hand. After a visit she reported that there were just two ambulances serving the whole island, doctors working twenty hours a day, children sleeping amidst the rubbish, and fears among aid workers over an outbreak of cholera.

The UK Government has offered to resettle 20,000 refugees from over five years and has offered £100 million in aid. But Yvette Cooper has asked the Prime Minister for the Department for International Development to intervene on Lesbos rather than rely on volunteers and charities. Today UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced a £5 million funding package for a group of humanitarian organisations to fund the distribution of sleeping bags, towels, rain wear, hygiene kits, nappies, food and clean water for refugees in Greece, Serbia and Macedonia.

Former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, now President of the New York based International Rescue Committee, had also visited Lesbos in September where he said he found ‘appalling neglect’.

ShelterBox has been hard at work on the refugee trail for over three years, providing shelter in refugee camps and for displaced families in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan and deep into Syria itself. Right now ShelterBox is providing aid in Syria through its in-country partners, and a team returned in October to Kurdistan to evaluate and improve long-standing provision.

But CEO Alison Wallace explains that the refugee crisis, particularly in Europe, is fraught with challenges and frustrations for aid agencies like ShelterBox. ‘The humanitarian need is obvious, and reports like those in the press make heart-breaking reading. But providing help to refugees within Europe is far from straightforward.’

‘On Lesbos the provision has grown ad hoc, and at times our response teams were caught up in the havoc caused by unmanageable numbers and slow registration procedures. Even now Greece’s government and the UN are finding it hard to identify land where respite camps can be legally placed.’

ShelterBox has access to many more of the large UN-style tents that it had already deployed in camps such as Kara Tepe near the island’s capital and main port of Mytilene. But Moria camp was already beyond capacity, and the lack of co-ordinated organisation could have exposed both ShelterBox teams and their beneficiaries to harm.

Alison adds, ‘With winter months approaching, shelter and warmth will be as important to refugee families as medicine, food and clean water. But all are hampered by a lack of local resources, a lack of available land. There is also decreasing political will, with many European countries exercising strict border controls.’

‘ShelterBox keeps the situation under daily review, and wherever we find an unmet need and a government willing to let us operate within their country, we will do all we can to respond.’

ShelterBox is preparing to mobilise a response team to evaluate need on Lesbos in the coming weeks, and is in touch with colleague agencies and local and government organisations on the island.

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.’

 

The Wait Is Finally Over As ShelterBox Aid Reaches Gaza

image of relief net going up in gaza

After months of negotiations, ShelterBox aid is being distributed to people in rural parts of Gaza who have been made homeless by ongoing conflict.
Last summer, tensions in Gaza once again came to a head in what is known as the 50 day war. During this time, it was very difficult for humanitarian agencies to access the region, so providing clean water and medical aid became the main priority.
However, continued bombings, shootings and missile attacks have destroyed an estimated 100,000 homes, causing a housing shortage. Thousands of families have left Gaza’s cities for the relative safety of rural areas, triggering the need for accommodation and emergency shelter.
After six months of lengthy negotiations and patience, ShelterBox has now been able to start delivering aid to Gaza.
 ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace said: ‘At last ShelterBox can help the displaced families of Gaza. Our tent-based aid wasn’t appropriate in the war zones, but in outlying areas we can help families who have run from conflict and are seeking only basic shelter and safety.’
An initial 250 ShelterBoxes have been delivered and are currently being distributed to families by the Paris-based Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), who ShelterBox regularly work with.
This slideshow shows the first 20 ShelterBox tents being put up and a further 60 families in need of shelter have already been identified. ShelterBox will be sending 500 boxes in all, and the next batch will be transported to Gaza soon.
See the slideshow on Flickr

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shelterboxuk/16254831500/in/set-72157650223348299/player/

The ShelterBoxes, which contain gloves, hats and scarves as well as extra blankets, cannot come too soon as Gaza has been experiencing extreme weather conditions with snowfall, hailstorms and flash flooding in places.
The ShelterBox tents have also been designed with special ventilation, so that they will stay cool when the hot weather eventually arrives.
You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

Rotary International Extends Its Project Partnership With ShelterBox

Rotary International logo

ShelterBox is proud to be Rotary International’s only official project partner worldwide. Now, with the relationship being extended into 2016, Alison Wallace explains why this is such a strong ‘circle of friendship’

In 2012 ShelterBox received the accolade of becoming Rotary International’s first-ever official Project Partner. Now it has heard that this unique partnership will be renewed until at least March 2016.

ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace says, ‘I’ve often thought that the phrase ‘what goes around, comes around’ suits Rotary ideally. Rotary has a circular emblem, and the notion of life having a circular karma – that personal acts of kindness will be returned to you via the kindness of others – seems to capture Rotary’s global spirit.’

‘The ShelterBox team shares that spirit, because there is no greater calling than helping people in distress. Time and again Rotarians work alongside ShelterBox – many of them within it. So I am delighted that Rotary International has extended our official project partnership, further strengthening a circle of friendship that reaches around the world.’

The agreement offers opportunities to collaborate and combine resources to provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world affected by disasters and humanitarian crises.

L-R ShelterBox Australia Ambassadors, John Hale, June Wade and David Brockway are all Presidents elect for their respective Rotary Clubs

L-R ShelterBox Australia Ambassadors, John Hale, June Wade and David Brockway are all Presidents elect for their respective Rotary Clubs

Fundraising efforts by Rotarians and their clubs worldwide make up a large proportion of the donations received by ShelterBox. Rotary clubs also provide invaluable support to field operations in disaster zones, by acting as consignees for aid, helping with transport, accommodation, providing vital local knowledge and an ability to cut through red tape. Many ShelterBox Response Team volunteers are Rotarians, and every one of ShelterBox’s international affiliate organisations was set up by Rotarians or Rotaracters.

Alison adds, ‘The importance of Rotary to ShelterBox can’t be overstated.  Just a handful of examples – it was a Rotary contact that alerted us to the monsoon floods in Malaysia this Christmas, and introduced our team to the country’s Prime Minister. We are one of very few western agencies able to operate in North Korea, due largely to liaison through a Rotary contact in Shanghai. Rotarians in Jordan have been essential to our work there helping Syrian refugees, and in May 2014 local Rotarians helped us to reach flood-stricken families in isolated parts of Serbia.’

Image of  SRT and Rotarian, Tony Williams

SRT member and Rotarian, Tony Williams exchanges a club banner with Rotary in Jordan

‘The list of our collaborations is continuous and endless. But I also think it is the individual acts of support that exemplify this special relationship, such as Medway Rotarian Ann Livings, who recently walked up Snowdon  despite having severe arthritis, raising funding for two ShelterBoxes.’

Back in 2012, Iquitos Rotarians in Peru alerted ShelterBox to Amazon River flooding. They worked with ShelterBox Response Team Malcolm Shead and Rachel Simpkins, provided translation, funded transport of ShelterBoxes up the river, and helped get aid to remote communities. By the end of the deployment ShelterBox and Rotary had provided 171 boxes to families in this inhospitable landscape.

Photo of SRT volunteers Alan Monroe (US), Bruce Heller (US) and Derek Locke (US) outside Iquitos Rotary Club, Peru, May 2012

SRT volunteers Alan Monroe (US), Bruce Heller (US) and Derek Locke (US) outside Iquitos Rotary Club, Peru, May 2012

For nearly a century Rotary clubs in the Philippines have been creating positive change. The first Philippine Rotary club was created in Manila in 1919, and in 1979 Rotary funded the immunisation of six million children to help eradicate polio. Now the Philippines’ 800 Rotary Clubs have stood alongside ShelterBox and its charity partners in a year-long response to Typhoon Haiyan, helping to create more resilient shelter so communities become less reliant on international aid after tropical storms.

Alison says, ‘In 15 years ShelterBox has grown from one Rotary club’s adopted project to become the largest global partnership in Rotary’s 100-year history. Last October I welcomed RIBI President Peter King to our Helston HQ. We both felt that the alliance of 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide with ShelterBox’s international reach had built a major force in humanitarian aid.’

‘It is great to see our partnership flourishing, and its official endorsement continuing for another year.’

Rotary and ShelterBox, A Year Of Collaboration

image of ShelterBox tent with rotary logo on

 

The global support from the Rotary network is the cornerstone that ShelterBox is built upon. Rotary has been instrumental in our growth and Rotarians are the cement that binds us together. Since we were founded, we grew from one club’s adopted project to the largest global Rotary club project in the 100-year history of the organisation. In 2014, both Rotary and ShelterBox have built upon this partnership, lending support to one another strategically, in terms of fundraising and awareness and with Rotarians lending operational support in many of our disaster responses.
In 2012, ShelterBox became Rotary International’s first project partner. This agreement offers opportunities to collaborate and combine resources to provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters and humanitarian crises.
The fundraising efforts by Rotarians make up a significant proportion of donations received by ShelterBox. Alongside this, Rotary Clubs provide invaluable logistical support during our disaster zone responses.
Rotarians will often be the people who ensure our aid can be delivered into a country by acting as consignees and taking responsibility for a delivery. These essential acts mean we can deliver aid to people in need as quickly as possible. More often than not, it will be Rotarians who are the first point of contact for our response team volunteers when they arrive in a country that has been devastated by a disaster. They provide everything from logistical support, translators and local knowledge, to a bed to sleep in.
This slideshow celebrating International Rotary Day 2014 highlights how Rotarians have volunteered for ShelterBox in response to the Syria crisis, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and flooding in Niger throughout 2013 and early 2014.
 
The global Rotary network has been key in our international growth. At present, all of our affiliates have been set up by Rotarians or Rotaracters and the growth has been phenomenal.
Operational support
In May of 2014, local Rotarians leant much-needed support to help shelter flood-stricken families in isolated areas of Serbia. The region had suffered what many were calling the worst flooding in the Balkans in decades. Response team volunteer Giles Walker produced this short film, in which we hear from local Rotarian Svetislav Goncic who was invaluable in assisting ShelterBox throughout the response in the region.

In a year which has seen ShelterBox respond to 25 disasters around the world we’d like to extend a huge thanks to the global Rotary community without the support of which we could not continue our work to help families in need following disasters.

Ground-Breaking Projects For ShelterBox In The Philippines

Christine Mae Ofiasa and her (then) fourteen-day old baby, Rona Mae, were among some of the early recipients of a ShelterBox aid after Haiyan first struck, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.

Christine Mae Ofiasa and her (then) fourteen-day old baby, Rona Mae, were among some of the early recipients of a ShelterBox aid after Haiyan first struck, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.

 

ShelterBox continues to develop new shelter solutions to meet the needs of communities affected by disasters 

Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013, was the most powerful storm ever to make landfall, claiming 6,200 lives and destroying a million homes. In the five months following the disaster, more than 100 ShelterBox Response Team members delivered 7,000 tents, 10,000 solar lights, 870 water filtration systems, 2,300 mosquito nets, 445 tool kits and 30 SchoolBoxes.

But our assistance has not stopped there. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have maintained our commitment to the Philippines and are extending the type of help we are able to offer. The ShelterBox is still at the heart of what we do, and our distinctive family relief tent remains a key part of most deployments. However, as we strive to develop into a global leader in shelter provision, we are embracing new ways of responding to the needs of communities affected by disasters.

This is critical because all disasters are different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. As ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace explains: ‘We must constantly evolve as a charity and develop our aid, because different disasters need different responses.’

We have been growing our aid offering for some time now. In the response to Typhoon Haiyan, for example, alongside tents we also distributed Shelter Repair Kits containing tools, tarpaulins and fixings to help beneficiaries begin the process of rebuilding their homes.

We are now taking this process to the next level in the Philippines. After a careful assessment process, we have entered into four project partnerships with leading international agencies including ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development), Handicap International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) which will lead to the construction of nearly 1,700 ‘core transitional’ shelters.

Designed to house a single family, the shelters will be constructed using locally sourced materials, wherever possible, in areas that were in the path of Typhoon Haiyan: in Eastern Samar, where the typhoon first made landfall; in northern Leyte, close to the devastated city of Tacloban; and on the island of Bantayan, in northern Cebu. In each community, a rigorous beneficiary selection process ensures that we prioritise the most vulnerable.

This will not only provide more than 8,000 vulnerable people with a safe, durable home but will also help to train the wider community in how to ‘build back safer’ as the shelters are designed to withstand further storms. The goal is to develop resilience to future disasters.

As CEO Alison Wallace puts it: ‘How much better to rebuild in ways that will make communities more resilient to the next storms, and what better opportunity for ShelterBox to fulfill its commitment to be a real team player in meeting humanitarian shelter needs?’

ShelterBox recognises that shelter is a process, not a product. So we will continue to refine and develop the range of tools at our disposal to meet the specific shelter needs of communities affected by a disaster. And we will collaborate with an ever-increasing range of partners – from aid agencies to freight companies, and from government bodies to the UN Global Shelter Cluster that coordinates the efforts of the leading humanitarian shelter specialists.

This is all part of ShelterBox’s evolution into a flexible supplier of emergency shelter tailored to the needs of those whom we seek to help.

Gaza – ‘It is frustrating, and heart-breaking, to have to watch and wait,’ says ShelterBox CEO

Gaza March 2009. ShelterBox has previously deployed aid to help families in Gaza. (Mark Pearson/ShelterBox).

Gaza March 2009. ShelterBox has previously deployed aid to help families in Gaza. (Mark Pearson/ShelterBox).

The world watches in disbelief as civilian casualties increase daily in the conflict between Israeli and Palestinian militants. ShelterBox last helped in this war-torn area in 2009, and is now on standby to provide aid once circumstances allow. 

Gaza City, as can be seen in constant news reports, is one of the most dangerous battle zones in the world at present. ShelterBox is in constant contact with numerous agencies on the ground, including the lead coordinating shelter organisation.

At present humanitarian agencies are finding it difficult to get any aid into the area, given the risk to aid workers and the tight border controls. Among aid priorities is the supply of medicines to Gaza’s over-stretched hospitals, and water supplies to UN shelters. Health services are often overwhelmed, especially following the frequent air and missile strikes. Gaza’s sole power plant has been damaged, so much of the city is without electricity.

ShelterBox Chief Executive Alison Wallace says, ‘It is frustrating, and heart-breaking, to have to watch and wait, but the shelter we offer is not currently appropriate to the needs of families and communities caught in the cross-fire. Our Operations Department is continually monitoring the situation through a number of channels, including multiple sources on the ground.’

‘As soon as a shelter need is identified that we can meet, we are poised to help the many thousands of people who have been displaced by the violence. Everyone is hoping that diplomatic efforts succeed in achieving a lasting cease-fire, so the humanitarian aid community can safely reach these desperate families.’

Over 250,000 people have quit their homes as a result of the fighting according to the UN – ten per cent of the population of Gaza. The branch of the UN that provides relief and human services to Palestinian refugees, the UNRWA, says it has exhausted its absorption capacity in Gaza City and northern Gaza, while overcrowding at its shelters is raising concerns about the outbreak of epidemics.

Palestinian officials now say 1,156 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the fighting since 8 July. Some 6,700 have been injured. Israel has lost 53 soldiers and three civilians. There is international outrage at the numbers of children killed or injured. The UN estimates that 185 children have been killed, and over 1,000 injured so far, with 150,000 forced to flee their homes.

ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Phil Duloy says, ‘We have made our partner agencies aware of our willingness to contribute to the response, should what we can offer become appropriate in time.’

Access constraints are also a major factor for aid agencies. There are limitations on the movement of cargo, whether by air or road. ShelterBox is active elsewhere in the Middle East, with partners currently distributing in Iraq to some of the 1.2 million people displaced by the advance of armed opposition groups in the central areas of the country. We are also supplying relief materials to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and internally displaced Syrian people in the north east of the country. ShelterBox last deployed to Gaza in 2009, supplying almost 600 tents to families displaced by conflict, at the time the longest solo deployment in ShelterBox’s history.

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