International disaster relief charity ShelterBox has offered equipment supplies to government and medical charities in the battle to contain Ebola
Emergency shelter specialist, ShelterBox is on standby to help the UK Government and international medical charities contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has already claimed over 4,000 lives.
At the moment the most pressing shelter need is for large-scale medical tents to create field hospitals, but ShelterBox’s family tents have seen service over the years as recovery areas, such as after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 where there was a cholera outbreak.
ShelterBox’s Operations HQ has contacted colleague charities, including Medicins Sans Frontieres, Save the Children and Care International, as well as the UK Government’s Department for International Development, to say it is available to help if required.
ShelterBox has pre-positioned stock, including tents, at Ghana on the African coast near to the worst affected areas of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Further stock could be airlifted from Dubai if needed.
ShelterBox Director of Operations John Leach says, ‘At present there is no call for our standard equipment, though there may well come a time when large-scale emergency shelter would meet a need. In addition to the medical emergency, we are now hearing of a growing humanitarian crisis involving the number of orphans created by the Ebola outbreak. As with any disaster, anywhere in the world, ShelterBox is quick to offer its resources and practical help. Obviously the medics are in the front line at the moment, but there may come a time when West Africa has to deal with numbers of displaced persons who are leaving the urban areas.’
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Almost four months have passed since Typhoon Bopha carved a path of destruction through the Philippines leaving thousands of families in desperate need of emergency shelter.
An in-country ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) was mobilised immediately to assess the need. They found the worst affected areas to be on Mindanao Island in Compostela Valley and the more isolated coastal Davao Oriental province.
ShelterBox has trained teams from Plan International in putting up disaster relief tents, enabling them to continue with distributions, bringing shelter, warmth and protection to hundreds of typhoon survivors like Analyn Cabiling, who was seven months pregnant when she lost her home in the storm.
‘When we met the Cabiling family, they had been living in an extremely small old hut with large holes in the roof, which did not keep out nightly rain storms,’ said SRT member Des O’Connell (UK). ‘Finding shelter was a huge concern for Analyn, her husband Raymond, and their two children both under seven years of age, as they needed to start buying materials to rebuild their flattened house. Therefore providing them with a tent has helped them make the next steps in their recovery.’
When the eldest son returned from school, he said: ‘Wow! Now we have a beautiful home. We are happy and we are so grateful to ShelterBox, Rotary and Plan International in providing us with support and shelter.’
Plan International continue to distribute vital ShelterBox aid to vulnerable families in hard-to-reach areas.
The huge scale of destruction caused delays in land clearance, as well as further flooding, which slowed shelter distributions. However, since the disaster, SRTs have been distributing much-needed emergency shelter to families in need, in partnership with aid agency Plan International.
‘We have worked with ShelterBox before and we know that ShelterBox do as they promote and responded to help the Philippines without any hesitation,’ said Plan International Coordinator Roy Soledad.
Australian ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members, Mike Greenslade and Andrew Gauci are on the ground in Bundaberg following the recent devastating floods that have caused millions of dollars worth of damage and left at least 7,000 people displaced. The flood, which peaked at a higher than expected 9.5m, swept through North Bundaberg inundating houses with water and mud
Assisted by local Rotarian and longtime ShelterBox supporter, Tom Head, the team have been meeting with local authorities, relief centres and charity groups to assess the need for emergency shelter.
Mike said, “Our recent experience in Tasmania has once again illustrated that emergency shelter provision is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Many people will not be able to return to their homes for months to come as their properties have to be cleaned, treated for mould and repaired before they are safe to inhabit again. Although the local government is providing emergency shelter, it’s not suitable for everyone. We are providing an option for people that wish to remain on their property, families in remote rural areas may have livestock to look after, others may just want some privacy and independence”
Queensland-based SRT Andrew Gauci said, “I left my hometown of Rockhampton experiencing an 8.5m flood and have been shocked by the damaged caused by Bundaberg’s second major flood in two years. Working with local Rotarians and charities we’re hoping to find the people that may fall through the cracks. The situation is far worse than was first reported to us and our major challenge is to identify those families in need of our help.