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

Ecuador Earthquake – A Survivor’s Story

For Maria Bele Artiaga, a wife and mother in her 50s, the massive earthquake that ripped much of Ecuador apart on 16 April was her second brush with natural disaster. She vividly describes her narrow escapes to ShelterBox responders, there to help Ecuadorians recover and rebuild.

Image of a Maria outside her collapsed home

Maria Bele Artiaga with her destroyed home

Maria stands forlornly in front of what little remains of her family home on the outskirts of Portoviejo in the Manabi province. It was early evening a little over three weeks ago when the 7.8 earthquake that was to kill 659 people and injure almost 28,000 began. It was felt as far away as Colombia and Peru, and in the following 24 hours over 55 aftershocks followed.

Maria was alone in her house that evening, watching TV. Her husband and son were out. Maria describes the unfolding horror. ‘The entire house was shaking. I felt disorientated like I was in a whirlpool and everything was spinning and twirling around me. I ran outside, it was dark, I stumbled and fell heavily to the ground.’

‘Whilst laying on the floor the force of the quake threw my fridge out of the house and it landed on me, crushing my left side and pinning me to the ground. My left hip and leg were so bruised they were black and I walked with difficulty for days after. I could only lie in pain and watch as my house crumbled to the ground. I couldn’t move and I just watched in shock. I thought the world was ending.’

Then she heard her neighbour cry for help. ‘She sounded so terrified and I didn’t know if she was OK. I couldn’t walk and the earth was still moving, so gathering my strength I pulled myself free and crawled across the ground towards her house. Thankfully she was not harmed, just extremely shaken.’

Maria has had the misfortune to encounter nature’s fury before. ‘This is the second time I am losing my home. I am from Venezuela, and there my house was completely destroyed by a hurricane. I remember the noise and the lightning. Then I came to Ecuador to start a new life but it happened again. I need help.’ Maria, her husband and son are staying with her neighbours for the time being, but their next step is uncertain.

ShelterBox Response Team members Jonathan Berg and Celine Chhea had spotted Maria by the roadside near her shattered home at Higueron Afuera as they conducted assessments in rural communities outside Portoviejo. Celine describes their journey into the heart of the quake zone. ‘The effects of the earthquake are extremely sporadic. You can go several miles before seeing any destruction, and so when you do the level of sheer devastation is then often surprising.’

‘Travelling from community to community in the searing heat and facing the heart-breaking scenes that we come across certainly takes its toll. But nothing in comparison to those affected by the tragedy.’

Shelter kits being loaded into a  truck at Manta docks May 2016

Shelter kits being loaded into a truck at Manta docks May 2016

ShelterBox is distributing thousands of shelter kits. These contain tools and tarpaulins to either create rudimentary shelters or to repair and waterproof damaged buildings. It has also despatched a shipment of boxes containing basics such as solar lighting, mosquito nets, blankets and water filtration equipment. The area is still facing a water crisis, as the local filtration plant was damaged in the quake, and field and crops remain contaminated with high-mineral flood water. ShelterBox will be working with Progad, a local organisation specialising in urban and social development projects. They were introduced by Habitat for Humanity, a charity that ShelterBox had previously partnered with in Chile and Panama.

Ecuador’s Portoviejo area, despite being among the worst hit with 516 known casualties, has seen little in the way of international aid, or help from the government or military. 

Jon Berg says, ‘When meeting the Vice Mayor in Portoviejo, and being shown around a potential area for warehousing, we saw a large number of new coffins, stocked up still in their wrapping waiting to be used. This storage area is part of the municipal government complex, where 300 households are still staying in a camp setting – the caskets a reminder of those not so fortunate. In the port of Manta people were still at work in a funeral home next to the cemetery late into the evening, which possibly reflects the number of funerals still taking place.’

On the plus side, much of the electricity supply has been restored, as has the mobile phone network. Supplies of petrol, diesel and LPG are now guaranteed at a national level. Rubble clearance is still taking place, but there is little evidence yet of reconstruction. Jon adds, ‘Most people in the rural areas we have visited live in houses constructed from brick and cement. They do not have mortgages, but instead use any spare money they gather over time to buy materials. When a disaster such as this hits, due to their levels of poverty they have no option but to start this gruelling process from scratch.’

On their fact-finding journey Jonathan and Celine heard another heart-rending story. Jon says, ‘In a village adjoining Rio Chico was a convent school. All that is left of it now is a very large area of rubble. The school was four floors high, and at the time of the earthquake there were five nuns on the ground floor and six on the top. When the quake shook the entire building collapsed. The noise was so loud that the entire community came running. A desperate rescue attempt ensued with everyone clearing the rubble as quickly as possible to try and save the lives of those trapped beneath it.’

‘The five nuns that were on the bottom floor perished but five that were on the top were pulled out alive, and are now recovering. The sixth did not make it. This story shows the strength of the community spirit and deep belief that hope remains in the most tragic of circumstances.’

You can support the disaster relief work of ShelterBox by making a tax-deductible donation here:

PLEASE DONATE

Response To Devastating Earthquakes Evaluated By ShelterBox

Shelterbox recently returned to Nepal to evaluate its response to the 2015 earthquakes. The team was led by ShelterBox Australia General Manager, Mike Greenslade with the evaluation conducted by Response Team volunteer, Jo Reid (UK) and Head of Training and Development, Nicky Richardson (UK). The team visited sites where ShelterBox aid was distributed, to conduct interviews with beneficiaries and gain a better understanding of the impact the aid we distribute has on affected families.

ShelterBox personel conduct interviews outside a UN-spec tent

SRT members Jo Reid and Nicky Richardson conduct an interview with ShelterBox beneficiaries in Pipaldanda, Sindhupalchowk, Nepal. ©ShelterBox/Mike Greenslade

Bel Bohadur Sapkota is a subsistence farmer from the hillside village of Pipaldanda, in the Sindhupalchowk district, east of Kathmandu. He was inside his house when a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25th April 2015. Luckily for Bel, his wife and 3 children were not with him in the house as the walls and ceiling fell in around him. Outside, his twelve year-old daughter held his baby son in her arms as the earth shook for two minutes. Thinking that he would surely die, he lay trapped in the rubble for 3 hrs before being rescued by friends. Bel was lucky to escape with his life. Many others in Pipaldanda were not so lucky. The earthquake left several dead and many more injured as every house was either completely destroyed or critically damaged.

Bel spent two days in hospital, as his wife and children shared a communal shelter with a hundred others. After two weeks, his family received a UN-spec tent from ShelterBox. Working in conjunction with the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), ShelterBox distributed 384 UN-spec tents in Pipaldanda, one for each family.

Bel said,

“It was very marvellous (to receive the tent) as no other help was there. We feel safe in the tent, there have been many aftershocks and I am concerned for my family”.

Bel Bohadur Sapkota (34yrs) received an IRFC tent from ShelterBox in conjunction with the NRCS following the earthquake.

Bel Bohadur Sapkota (34yrs) received an IRFC tent from ShelterBox in conjunction with the NRCS following the earthquake. ©ShelterBox/Mike Greenslade

So concerned is Bel after his lucky escape that he has taken out a Rs 6 million loan (around US$6,000) to construct a concrete and brick house, built to government specifications. Whilst government grants may be forthcoming in the future, Bel has taken a big financial risk to protect his family. With no salary to repay the loan he may have to sell some the land he farms to service the loan. Tellingly, Bel’s is the only new house under construction in the village at present.

Elsewhere, in Sindhupalchowk District, ShelterBox worked with the NRCS to distribute Shelter Repair Kits. Each kit consists of 2 6 x 4m reinforced tarpaulins and a tool kit that includes a shovel, hoe, hammer, saw, pliers and tin snips, 15m of nylon rope, tie wire and a variety of nails. The kits enable families to construct temporary shelters or repair damaged homes.

Lab Bahadu Khadka (60yrs) is a retired government employee from the rural village of Yamuna Danda. Lab’s house was a traditional 3-storey house built from stone, mud and timber. It was completely destroyed by the earthquake. Utilising elements of the Shelter Kit, Lab has constructed a variety of shelters to house his family, store food and protect his livestock. Lab said,

“The items were very useful in clearing rubble and building the shelters along with materials what I could save from my old house”.

 Lab is using his savings to fund building a single-storey transitional shelter, with a low, stone and mud wall and a wooden frame. The window frames are recycled from his old house and the timber milled from the family’s own trees. The house will be finished before the monsoon season arrives and will provide a safe dwelling for his elderly mother. In the future, when finance permits, Lab plans to build an earthquake-proof house. The memory of last April’s disaster looms large in everyone’s mind.

Image of Lab and his wife in front of their new home (under construction)

Lab Bahadu Khadka (60 yrs) and his wife are using their saving to build a transitional shelter, primarily for his elderly mother. ©ShelterBox/Mike Greenslade

Nepal Earthquake One Year On

Nepali woman with shelter kit on her shoulder

Surya Maya Danwar collects a ShelterBox shelter kit following the catastrophic earthquake in Nepal last year.

 

One year ago, a catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in Gorkha, Nepal. The quake killed thousands of people, flattened entire villages and knocked out vital infrastructure like roads and bridges.

Despite difficulties getting into the country, a ShelterBox team arrived within two days of the quake and quickly started distributing aid from prepositioned stocks in the country.

In Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, we supplied tents for hospitals that had been badly damaged and were treating patients in the open air. Here, our tents provided much needed covered space in which to carry out minor treatments, while in rural clinics, medical staff used tents to sleep in so that they could provide round-the-clock treatment to people injured in the quake.

As we were able to transport more aid and more teams into the country, we focused our efforts on the rural mountain communities that had been worst affected by the quake. Many of the villages we helped were incredibly remote, and we had to use a mixture of trucks and helicopters to reach them.

One of these remote areas was Phataksila, home to Surya Maya Danwar. Surya was at home eating a meal when the earthquake struck. Her father-in-law was outside and shouted to her to get out of the house, but she didn’t make it in time. The roof fell in and trapped Surya. If it wasn’t for her mother and father-in-law, who rescued her, she would have died.

When Surya was able to stand again, she started searching for her son, who wasn’t at home when the quake took place. She was very worried, but thankfully her son had been in a field by the river when it happened – if he’d been at home, he might not have survived.

The family were able to salvage very little from the house, as many things were completely buried in the quake, but they created a makeshift shelter from old pieces of corrugated iron and wood.

However, Surya received a shelter kit from ShelterBox, as did all of the other families in her area. The shelter kit included heavy-duty tarpaulins and tools that can be used in a variety of ways to mend and create shelters. The family used the tarpaulin to make their shelter waterproof, which provided them with a sturdy temporary shelter before they created their new home.

Surya and ShelterBox response team member Mike Greenslade stand outside her new home.

Surya and ShelterBox Response Team member, Mike Greenslade stand outside her new home.


Surya not only used the tools included in the kit to help secure the structure, but to dig the fields. Many crops were damaged and destroyed during the earthquake, so being able to tend to the fields and start growing produce again is very important.

Along with ShelterBox equipment, people were also shown how they could use the kits to build back safer homes, that would be more resilient to future quakes.

Surya said: ‘If another earthquake happened, it wouldn’t be like before. The new shelter it safer and I wouldn’t be trapped again.’

We’ve now helped provide shelter for more than 67,000 people in Nepal since last year. However, our work never stops. Disasters and conflict around the world mean that there are families in need of shelter 365 days a year.

In Ecuador, communities have been devastated by another 7.8 magnitude earthquake – one measuring exactly the same strength as the deadly quake in Nepal.

One of our ShelterBox response teams is on the ground, facing aftershocks, landslides and blocked roads to assess the level of destruction. We are primed to provide the best possible type of aid to exactly where it is needed, but we need your help to do it. Please donate today to make sure that no family goes without shelter.

Deadly earthquake strikes in Ecuador – ShelterBox Responds

people taking photos of damaged church in Ecuador

Damage caused by the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador (Wikimedia http://ow.ly/4mOf7B)

 

A ShelterBox response team is travelling to Ecuador to carry out assessments following a catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the northern town of Muisne.

The devastation has been huge. Streets have cracked and many buildings have collapsed, leaving people homeless and causing thousands of casualties.

The ShelterBox operations team has been monitoring the situation since the earthquake took place on Saturday night, which has so far triggered heavy landslides and more than 130 aftershocks.

A ShelterBox response team, made up of Jon Berg (UK) and Kara Lapso (US), is now preparing to travel to Ecuador to assess the level of destruction and what type of emergency shelter is needed.

We already have aid positioned in neighbouring Colombia, as well as in Panama and Bolivia, which can be quickly transported into the country, but we need your help. Please donate to ShelterBox today to help us send out the response teams to deliver aid to where it is most needed.

Our ShelterBoxes can provide shelter and essential aid, like blankets, solar lights and water filters, for families who have lost their homes and belongings, while shelter kits contain heavy-duty tools and materials to help people rebuild damaged homes and buildings.

James Luxton, ShelterBox Operations Team Lead, said: ‘It is vital that we send a team to Ecuador to see what the situation is like on the ground.

‘Aftershocks and landslides, combined with current heavy rainfall in the country, not only mean that more homes could be destroyed, but that many families will be experiencing terrifying conditions without proper shelter.’

The earthquake in Ecuador follows large quakes in Japan, Myanmar, Vanuatu and Afghanistan last week. That’s why we need your help. Please give what you can today to make sure no family is without shelter.

Reinforcing Family Foundations In The Philippines

images of smiling Filipino children

Children from the Capangpangan family in the village of Binay, Philippines.

 

Typhoon Melor tore through the Philippines last December, leaving 14,400 families with damaged or destroyed houses – houses that were no longer fit to live in. However, your support has helped us provide the vital tools needed to rebuild homes and repair communities.

One of those homes belonged to the Capangpangan family in the village of Binay. Robert and Jennibeth Capangpangan have eight children aged between four and 15. We recently returned to the Philippines to see how the family are recovering after the typhoon.

When the typhoon first passed over their village, the family sought shelter in their house made of coconut tree trunks covered in coconut leaves. Once the winds gained full strength, the house began to shake and the family had no choice but to flee to the nearby church

The family’s possessions were lost; all that remained were a few floorboards

Under the strain of the typhoon, the house began to fall apart and the foundations collapsed. The family’s possessions were lost; all that remained were a few floorboards.

They not only lost their home and belongings, but their income too. Robert was a coconut farmer, but with the majority of coconut trees lost in the typhoon, his livelihood has gone. As a result, his wife Jennibeth has had to leave the family to work in the capital Manila.

When the winds died down, the family returned to their home and Robert tried to construct some new walls out of coconut leaves and tarpaulins provided by the local authorities. The shelter held, but it didn’t feel safe and secure enough for the family.

However, at the start of January, Robert received a shelter kit from ShelterBox, containing corrugated iron sheeting and a range of hardwearing tools. The kit enabled the family to start rebuilding their home.

Rebuilding the family home helped us get our lives back to some sort of normality

Melor
Robert said: ‘The kit means everything to us. I’ve lost my livelihood and my income, so without this kit, I wouldn’t have been able to rebuild my family’s home.’

The materials in the kit meant that Robert could start rebuilding a stronger home that was more resilient than the previous house. They were able to reinforce the foundations and build a much sturdier roof.

Robert added: ‘Rebuilding the family home helped us get our lives back to some sort of normality. After the typhoon hit, the children were ill, but now we have a proper home again, they are well and back in school.‘

In total, your support has enabled us to distribute 900 shelter kits to help people rebuild their homes again.