ShelterBox helps to plan HRH Prince Harry’s Royal visit to Nepal

round table meeting with HRH Prince Harry and his aides

 

ShelterBox has met HRH Prince Harry twice in the last year, once in New Zealand last May and again at the Royal Film Performance in London, last October. With its long experience of responding to Nepal’s earthquakes, little surprise that ShelterBox was invited to help plan the Royal tour.

HRH Prince Harry of Wales is visiting Nepal for the first time, undertaking a tour until Wednesday 23rd March. Nepal suffered two major earthquakes in April and May 2015. Prince Harry’s website says, ‘He has a huge amount of admiration for the resilience of the people of the country, particularly in response to the earthquakes last year.  During the visit he will learn how the country has been recovering over the last twelve months.’

This is an official visit on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, marking the bicentenary of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Cornwall-based ShelterBox, a disaster relief agency specialising in emergency shelter after natural disasters, responded to the quakes with months of aid provision and partnership working. Their teams took tools, repair kits, tents and school materials to many sites across Nepal.

In May 2015 ShelterBox also formed an alliance with Royal Gurkha Rifles Light Role Battalion to provide aid to very remote mountain communities. On Tuesday Prince Harry will be introduced to the home of the Brigade of Gurkhas, saluting the extraordinary bravery and commitment they have shown over 200 years. HRH served with the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles during his tour of Afghanistan in 2007-8, observing, ‘When you know you’re with the Gurkhas, there’s no safer place to be.’

Soldiers form the Royal Gurkha Rifles help to distribute ShelterBox aid in Phataksila, Nepal.

Soldiers form the Royal Gurkha Rifles help to distribute ShelterBox aid in Phataksila, Nepal.

ShelterBox was very honoured to be invited by Prince Harry’s aides to a recent meeting at Kensington Palace to help plan the current Royal Tour of Nepal.

Operations Team Lead Andrew Clark attended, as one of ShelterBox’s in country co-ordinators during the charity’s response to the earthquakes. Andrew is a former Parachute Regiment army officer, and his previous roles have included Chief of Operations during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He has also worked as a Defence Consultant advising NATO and mentored Afghan National Security Forces on missions in Helmand Province.

ShelterBox’s Interim Chief Executive Chris Warham says, ‘It was a great honour for ShelterBox to be called on to advise on this Royal Tour, and for our experience in Nepal to be recognised at this level. Last year ShelterBox was invited to benefit from the proceeds of the Royal Film Performance as a result of our role in helping the Nepalese people to recover from last year’s tragic events. Andrew and his response team colleagues are very experienced in this area, and it is a great credit to ShelterBox to be able to share that experience with Royal aides.’

Last May HRH Prince Harry also met one of ShelterBox’s response team volunteers, Jimmy Griffith. This was at the New Zealand Governor General’s reception in Aukland’s Government House, part of a week-long Royal visit following Prince Harry’s month’s training with the Australian armed forces. It followed ShelterBox’s response to Cyclone Pam which devastated the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. 

In Nepal Prince Harry will highlight the importance of conservation-based tourism in Nepal, and towards the end of his visit will learn about Nepal’s future through its young people and the challenges and opportunities they will experience in the years to come. Alongside its shelter-based aid, ShelterBox also distributed School Boxes to Nepal’s orphanages, each containing education equipment for fifty pupils. A tent was also given to a local children’s art therapy organisation creating a safe, friendly resource where children could overcome the trauma of the earthquakes.

At the end of the tour on Wednesday, HRH will visit the Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu, where he will meet child patients who were injured in accidents at camps for families displaced by the 2015 earthquakes. In April 2015 the immediate use for ShelterBox tents already stored in Kathmandu was as outdoor clinical space for damaged hospitals.

The tour will end with a reception at the UK Embassy in Kathmandu, hosted by H.E. Ambassador Richard Morris.

Learn more about ShelterBox at: www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au

ShelterBox On Standby As A Massive Earthquake Rocks Afghanistan And Pakistan

Image of Afghan man in front of collapsed building

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ShelterBox Has Team And Aid Standing By To Respond To Chilean Earthquake

damage on the coastline of Iloca following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile in 2010, to which ShelterBox deployed.

Damage on the coastline of Iloca following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile in 2010, to which ShelterBox deployed.

 

International disaster relief charity ShelterBox is geared up to respond to a powerful earthquake in Chile, South America, where five people are already known to have died and an estimated one million people have been evacuated

An 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck central Chile late last evening, more powerful than the 7.8 quake that hit Nepal in May. It has caused the evacuation of an estimated one million people.

Chilean officials say it is the sixth most powerful quake to hit the country, and seismologists have reported dozens of aftershocks. A tsunami alert was originally issued for the entire Chilean coast but has been partly lifted since, although Pacific coast communities as far away as New Zealand, California and Hawaii remain vigilant.

The US Geological Survey say the epicentre of the tremor was off the coast of Chile’s Coquimbo region, 29 miles west of the city of Illapel.

ShelterBox last responded in Chile earlier this year when the Calbuco volcano erupted three times in eight days, and the usually arid area of Atacama suffered intense rainfall causing flash flooding and landslides. Shelter was provided for 1,500 families whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

Five years ago ShelterBox was also called to an even more powerful earthquake, 8.8 magnitude, which struck only 200 miles from the Chilean capital Santiago. That also triggered a tsunami alert. ShelterBox response teams were drawn from the UK and US on that occasion, when 500 people died.

After last evening’s quake people living in coastal areas sought shelter on high ground, while those in Chilean cities sought safety in the streets. The tremors and aftershocks caused buildings to sway in cities as far away as the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. It happened as thousands of Chileans were travelling to the coast ahead of a week of celebrations for the country’s independence day.

Phil Duloy, Operations Coordinator at ShelterBox HQ in Helston, says, ‘This is a major earthquake. We make our plans based on the best available information, and damage assessments are not coming in just yet. We have a team and aid on standby, and both could be deployed to the affected areas in Chile as early as tomorrow.’

Truckloads Of Tarps Arrive As ShelterBox Continues Its Aid Push In Rain-Swept Nepal

Nepalese villager help unload a truck of Shelterbox aid

Local volunteers assist in delivering ShelterBox aid to the people of Pipaldanda in Nepal

 

Intense rainfall, flash flooding, landslides, and difficult  traveling conditions. Nepal, devastated by two major earthquakes, is suddenly in the grip of its monsoon season. But international disaster relief charity, ShelterBox, in the latest phase of a response that is now into its third month, is on the way with urgently needed equipment to help communities shelter and rebuild.

ShelterBox’s team in Nepal has just taken delivery of three truckloads of aid that have made the long overland journey from Delhi in India. The 12,000 waterproof tarpaulins are now safely stored in a Kathmandu warehouse operated by partner organisation, the Agency for Technical Co-operation and Development (ACTED).

A further shipment of 2,500 tarps has arrived by air from ShelterBox stock in Dubai, and is now bound for the rural district of Sindhupalchok, close to the epicentre of the first earthquake.

This is the latest phase in ShelterBox’s response to the two Nepal earthquakes. ShelterBox volunteers have now been in-country continuously since 27 April. The earliest distributions were of prepositioned stocks of ShelterBoxes used to create clinical space for damaged hospitals.

Subsequently ShelterBox distributed thousands of shelter kits to high altitude communities – including some deliveries made in partnership with the Royal Gurkha Rifles – and of UN specification tents. And, more recently, orphanages across the Kathmandu Valley received school equipment in SchoolBoxes, as part of a joint project with the local Rotary Club of Bhadgaon.

So far an estimated 15,000 people have received ShelterBox aid. Now, with three months of monsoon downpours underway, waterproof tarps are in great demand.

ShelterBox’s In-Country Coordinator Toby Ash says, ‘The needs we are meeting are many, various and constantly changing. We also have to work within Nepal’s own rules and import restrictions, and have to be patient with bureaucracy and paperwork. So our team welcomes these latest consignments of practical and highly portable aid, and we’re discussing with partners how best to get them to the remote communities who need them most.’

In the longer term ShelterBox is talking to ACTED about ways to reach areas of Nepal that have not yet received assistance, and a possible future project to create quake-resistant dwellings.

Toby adds, ‘As is so often the case, even though a humanitarian disaster has slipped from the headlines, there is still plenty of aid work to be done. In Nepal ShelterBox remains focused on helping people who are living in poor conditions with inadequate shelter.’

You can support the work of ShelterBox by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

 

Video: Keeping crucial medical care going in Nepal

A patient at a medical facility in one of the mountainous regions north of Kathmandu (Liam Arthur/ShelterBox)

A patient at a medical facility in one of the mountainous regions north of Kathmandu (Liam Arthur/ShelterBox)

When the earthquakes shook Nepal earlier this year, it wasn’t only homes that were wrecked, but vital resources like hospitals and clinics too.
Shortly after the second earthquake took place, ShelterBox response team members Nicola Hinds (UK) and Mike Peachey (NZ) travelled to a small community near Trisuli, north of Kathmandu to assist medical staff at the Kharanitaar Primary Health Post.
The clinic, which is the one of the major facilities in the incredibly mountainous region of Nepal, was left badly damaged after the earthquake. Cracks in the walls had weakened the buildings so much that they were no longer safe to use.
While the clinic had been provided with tents to use as an operating theatre and a birthing centre, there was nowhere for the medical staff to sleep.
As Nicola explains in this video, providing a ShelterBox tent, which gave the staff a safe place to stay overnight was incredibly important: ‘A lot of people will be relying on this centre for healthcare and medical staff have to stay here whenever they have in-patients, so they need somewhere to sleep.’

Video: ‘Partnerships Are Key In Delivering Aid’

Toma Dursina from aid agency ACTED, which ShelterBox has been partnering with while responding to the Nepal earthquakes

Toma Dursina from aid agency ACTED, which ShelterBox has been partnering with while responding to the Nepal earthquakes

 

During our response to the earthquakes and subsequent tremors that first hit Nepal almost two months ago, we have been working with other aid agencies to make sure that we reach as many people as possible.
Working in partnership with other organisations means that we have been not only able to coordinate our efforts in making sure that communities don’t get missed out, but we’ve also been able to physically reach more places too.
In this video, Toma Dursina, who is a leading a team in Nepal for the French organisation ACTED (the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development), describes the challenges of delivering aid to remote, high altitude regions when roads and routes have frequently been cut off by landslides.
Toma goes on to explain the importance of working in partnership with other organisations to deliver the right type of aid efficiently and as fast as possible. He goes on to say that the partnership with ShelterBox has been one of ACTED’s most successful during the response to the Nepal earthquakes. Together we have managed to bring shelter to 10,000 people who have lost their homes.

ShelterBox is continuing to work with ACTED in Nepal as the start of the monsoon season makes the need for shelter even more urgent. We are currently in the process of transporting 14,500 tarpaulins which will be distributed along with materials, such as corrugated iron, so that people can create temporary shelters and make repairs on damaged buildings too.

You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

SchoolBoxes Provide A Sense Of Normality For Children In Nepal

A child ponders what to write after being given a ShelterBox activity pack. (Torstein Neilsen/ShelterBox)

A child ponders what to write after being given a ShelterBox activity pack. (Torstein Neilsen/ShelterBox)

 

Since the first powerful earthquake hit Nepal in late April, our ShelterBox response teams have found innovative ways to use our aid to support people whose lives have been turned upside down.
Our tents were not only given to families that had lost their homes, but also to hospitals and therapy centres to provide space for people who had been hurt either physically or emotionally by the quakes. We also provided shelter kits to people whose homes needed repairing and now, our teams have been working with a local Rotary club to distribute SchoolBoxes, containing classroom materials, to orphanages in the Kathmandu Valley.
During the response in Nepal, ShelterBox has teamed up with several different organisations, such as the Armed Police Force, theRoyal Gurkha Rifles and other aid agencies, to make sure that we reach as many people in need as possible. Most recently, we have been working with the Rotary Club of Bhadgaon, based in the Kathmandu Valley. The club, which is less than a year old, has taken on the project of supporting more than 200 orphanages across the Kathmandu Valley, which has become even more urgent following the earthquakes.
Children at an orphanage in the Kathmandu Valley receive ShelterBox school supplies (Torstein Neilsen/ShelterBox)

Children at an orphanage in the Kathmandu Valley receive ShelterBox school supplies (Torstein Neilsen/ShelterBox)

Each orphanage looks after between 25 and 50 children, some of whom arrive when they are as young as a few days old and can remain until the age of 18. Many of the orphanage buildings have been damaged as a result of the earthquakes, with cracks in the walls and floors visible in the structure.
The Rotary Club brought in psychiatrists to help children who have been traumatised by the earthquakes and ongoing aftershocks. In addition, a ShelterBox response team, made up of Tim Osburn (US), Jimmy Griffith (NZ), Torstein Neilsen (NOR) and Jessica Kim (CAN) helped to source and deliver SchoolBoxes containing enough school materials for 450 children.
SchoolBoxes contain educational resources for teachers and 50 children

SchoolBoxes contain educational resources for teachers and 50 children

Each box includes supplies for teachers, such as blackboard paint, chalk and solar radios, along with activity packs for children that contain materials, such as notebooks and coloured pencils, to not only help children to continue their studies, but to play and express themselves too.
Response team member Jimmy Griffiths said: ‘It was great to see our SchoolBoxes in action and to peek in on how the children are enjoying a little bit of a distraction from their very difficult experiences.’
ShelterBox provided aid for 478 families

Eyewitness Account of ShelterBox Aid In The Philippines

Thousands of people attended the recent ‘Eats & Beats’ festival organised by Logan City Council in SE Queensland. The festival brought together people from the local community to sample delicious street food from around the world whilst being entertained by a succession of local musical talent.

Thousands attended the 'Eats & Beats' Festival in Logan City

Thousands attended the ‘Eats & Beats’ Festival in Logan City ©MikeGreenslade/ShelterBox

 

Thanks to members of the Rotary Clubs of Beenleigh, Loganholme and Logan, ShelterBox was present, showing festival goers the type of aid we have distributed around the world to those left homeless by disaster. Members of the public showed great interest our substantial relief tent and the other essential items included in a ShelterBox, especially the ‘Luminaid’ solar light.

ShelterBox had a prime position just inside the entrance to the festival .... and opposite the ATM!

ShelterBox had a prime position just inside the entrance to the festival …. and opposite the ATM!

 

At such events, it’s not unusual to find people who are familiar with the work of ShelterBox but it’s rare to find people who have come across our work firsthand. Melanie and Anthony Roberts were on a relief trip to Bohol in the Philippines, following the earthquake of October 2013, delivering aid to family members and their community. ShelterBox had deployed to area immediately after the earthquake, distributing a total of 20 ShelterBox midi tents, 214 disaster relief tents and 214 ShelterBoxes, helping 478 families.

The destruction in Bohol left many families homeless

The destruction in Bohol left many families homeless ©MelanieRoberts

 

Melanie said, ”

We visited the small town of Tubigon, Bohol and saw the destruction both these events caused. I was so impressed with the ShelterBox tents at the time, that I took many pictures while I was there to show everyone back here in Australia. It was amazing to see these “instant Cities” pop up along the main highway and beside the town cemetery where people were able to go and seek refuge.”

ShelterBox provided aid for 478 families

ShelterBox provided aid for 478 families ©MelanieRoberts

 

Melanie and her husband, Anthony praised “the resilience of the Filipino people and the warmth they gave back to all the people that came to help them in their time of need. Such a humbling experience” and commended ShelterBox for our “invaluable relief work“.

Our thanks go to Melanie and Anthony for sharing their story and photos with us. It shows that we can make a real difference to people’s lives.

You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Rotary International Convention 2015, Sao Paula

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

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

SchoolBoxes Distributed To Orphanages In Earthquake-Stricken Kathmandu

Happy children accept their SchoolBox from SRT volunteers

Happy children accept their SchoolBox from SRT volunteers

 

Disaster relief charity ShelterBox has now used a range of its aid in its Nepal earthquake response ShelterBox tents as medical facilities, Shelter Kits to get aid swiftly to mountain villages, and now SchoolBoxes to bring some sense of recovery and normality to children in Kathmandu.   

The Nepal earthquakes affected vast areas of urban, valley and mountain terrain, presenting unique challenges to aid workers. From the city of Kathmandu to high altitude villages perched on narrow terraces, ShelterBox and its partners have had to use ingenious solutions – a variety of aid, and every form of transport from helicopters to trucks to trekking by foot.

In the early days after the first quake ShelterBox tents were used as medical facilities outside damaged city hospitals, or as field hospitals in the foothills. Then a steady flow of Shelter Kits containing tools and waterproof tarpaulins were the ideal choice for helping remote mountain communities to start rebuilding their homes. Over 15,000 people have received ShelterBox aid so far, much of it delivered in partnership with other international organisations, Rotary and the Royal Gurkha Rifles. 

Now, an initiative by a local Rotary Club has focused on children in need. The Rotary Club of Bhadgaon is less than a year old, but has taken on the massive project of supporting over 200 orphanages across the Kathmandu Valley a task which the earthquakes made even more urgent.

Bhadgaon (also known as Bhaktapur or Khwopa) is a city in the Kathmandu Valley with some of the finest temples and religious architecture in Nepal, though much of it has now been damaged or destroyed.

A response team from ShelterBox – Tim Osburn from the US, Jimmy Griffith from New Zealand, Torstein Nielsen from Norway and Jessica Kim from Canada – helped to source and deliver SchoolBoxes containing enough school materials for up to 450 children. Each orphanage looks after between 25 and 50 children – some are admitted when only a few days old, and they may remain until the age of 18. The Rotarians have also brought in psychiatrists to help children traumatised by the quakes and ongoing aftershocks.

Torstein says, ‘It was wonderful to see how the older children were taking care of the younger children. It was evident that the staff fostered a healthy, inviting family environment.’

His colleague Jimmy Griffith added, ‘It was great to see our SchoolBoxes in action and to peek in on how the children are enjoying a little bit of a distraction from their very difficult experiences.’

In another initiative a ShelterBox tent has provided an adaptable space for a local children’s art therapy organisation in Balaju Park in Kathmandu. This has created a fun, friendly environment where children can overcome the trauma of the earthquakes. It provides them with a place to play, sing, dance and draw, where they can receive one-on-one therapy too. It will also be used to train counsellors and volunteers committed to helping children overcome their experiences.

ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace says, ‘It is no surprise that a widespread disaster like this has required many different responses, and the use of different types of aid. We have been fortunate to team up with excellent partner charities, with Rotarians and the military to reach as many people as possible. And it is good to see the needs of these children being part of that mix.’

‘Now, with the monsoon creating very wet conditions for the next few months, we are sourcing more tarpaulins to help as many people as possible to rebuild or to shelter. Flexibility and resourcefulness are needed in such testing circumstances, and I am proud to say ShelterBox is dedicated to doing all it can to continue helping the people of Nepal.’

Eva Doerr is now leading the ShelterBox team in Nepal. Eva says,‘Despite logistical challenges the team in Nepal is continuing to make a relentless effort in providing those families affected by the earthquake with shelter and recovery material. With the monsoon season just around the corner, we can expect another emergency and even more need.’