More ShelterBox Tents For Displaced Families In Kurdistan

Northern Iraq. November 2012. ShelterBox has been actively heping families in this region for more than two years now (Matt Roberts/ShelterBox).

Northern Iraq. November 2012. ShelterBox has been actively heping families in this region for more than two years now (Matt Roberts/ShelterBox).

As air strikes against Islamic State militants keep the conflict in Syria and Iraq in the headlines, distribution of ShelterBox tents continues in Iraqi Kurdistan, to which more than 800,000 displaced people have fled. 

Few of us will have forgotten the terrible images from last August of the plight of 40,000 people from Iraq’s minority Yazidi community trapped on Mount Sinjar after being driven from their homes by Islamic State fighters. Those that managed to escape sought refuge in the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in the north east of the country.

The KRI is now sheltering more than half of the 1.7 million internally displaced Iraqis and Syrian Kurds who have been forced from their homes by the regional conflict. That’s around 145,000 families looking to the KRI government and international aid agencies for help.

Many families are staying in unfinished buildings, or in mosques, churches and schools. The latter is particularly problematic since, with the start of the new academic year in mid September, people sheltering in educational establishments have had to be relocated.

Responding to this need, around 540 ShelterBox tents have been distributed in the last two weeks, the majority near Dohuk in the northern part of the KRI, which has the largest concentration of displaced persons. A further 1,388 tents are awaiting distribution, some of which will also be going into the north of the country while others are destined for central and eastern areas of Kurdistan.

This is a complex and difficult situation. ShelterBox operations coordinator, Malcolm Shead commented:

‘We’re not sure exactly when the remaining distributions will take place. It’s a slow process as we have to resolve issues around land ownership, sanitation and hygiene and camp management.’

However, ShelterBox is working with partners to reach the families in need. For example, we are cooperating closely with French aid agency ACTED, which is well-established in Kurdistan. We have also supplied a number of tents to medical charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres for use as mobile clinics.

ShelterBox has been active in Kurdistan for more than two years now. With no end in sight to the chaos in Syria and Iraq, we remain committed to doing all we can to provide shelter for those displaced by the conflict.

You can help here: PLEASE DONATE

ShelterBox Tents Await Iraqi Families Fleeing Sinjar Mountain

IRAQI KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. ShelterBox has previously assisted families in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

IRAQI KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. ShelterBox has previously assisted families in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

As the United Nations (UN) declares a ‘Level 3 Emergency’ for Iraq, ShelterBox partners with both the UN and the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) to attempt to deliver vital shelter to families previously stranded on Sinjar Mountain. 

Thousands of people, mostly religious minorities, were left stranded atop Sinjar Mountain after being driven from their homes by the advance of Islamic State militants in the region. The rapid advance of militant fighters has thrown Iraq into crisis and has now led to overseas involvement in the form of aid interventions. The UN estimates that 1.2 million Iraqis have now been internally displaced by the crisis. ShelterBox has a wealth of experience in humanitarian responses in the region having been responding to the Syria crisis since early 2012.

The UN has issued a statement explaining ‘Given the scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe, this measure [declaring a Level 3 Emergency] will facilitate mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements.’

The severity of this crisis is not to be overlooked, today’s UN statement goes on to clarify that a Level 3 Emergency ‘represents the highest level of humanitarian crisis’.

In a week that has seen both the UK and US completing aid drops of food and water into the region, the latest announcement from the UN comes amidst growing concerns for what lies ahead for the families stranded atop Sinjar Mountain. Concern is also mounting for those families who have, in recent nights, fled the mountain under the cover of darkness and are now in search of shelter.

ShelterBox currently has prepositioned stock in Iraq and will be working with UNHCR and ACTED to move 500 UN specification tents to Duhok, near the border with Syria, to be used to establish a camp to provide shelter for internally displaced people (IDP’s) such as those fleeing Sinjar Mountain.

Although daytime temperatures in the region are currently high the ShelterBox Operations team are currently making provisions to supplement the current stock of shelter in Iraq with winterisation kits. This is more of a precautionary measure should the need for shelter sadly extend into the colder winter months.

You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

Iraq’s Displaced Families To Receive ShelterBox Aid

RAQ KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. ShelterBox had aid prepositioned in the Iraq Kurdistan leftover from its last response in the country when it provided shelter for Syrian refugees in August 2013 at Qushtapa camp near Erbil, pictured here. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

IRAQ KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. ShelterBox had aid prepositioned in the Iraq Kurdistan leftover from its last response in the country when it provided shelter for Syrian refugees in August 2013 at Qushtapa camp near Erbil, pictured here. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

 

ShelterBox aid prepositioned in the Kurdistan region of Iraq is imminently being distributed by an in-country partner to bring shelter to families displaced by the country’s recent conflict.
Fighting between armed opposition groups has forced many families to head north to Iraq Kurdistan to seek safety.
ShelterBox tents and kitchen sets already stored in the country as contingency stocks whilst the Syria crisis continues to feed instability in the region are now being used to help some of the thousands of Iraqi families internally displaced.
‘Whilst preparing to deliver aid with a long-standing partner, we are also exploring several other options to respond to the needs of large numbers of displaced people in different parts of the region,’ said ShelterBox response team member Phil Duloy in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

‘People need help now’
‘People need help now and having prepositioned aid in the country already has allowed us to respond quickly to some of the shelter needs,’ added response team member Malcolm Shead. ‘A further 1,000 tents are being sent next week to help more people across multiple locations that are experiencing waves of displaced families who are currently sleeping in the open as the collective shelters are full.’
Thank you to all of our kind supporters for enabling us to carry out our disaster relief work and bring shelter and comfort to families made homeless by disaster and humanitarian crisis.

Trying To Ease Suffering In Syria And Iraq Kurdistan

IRAQ KURDISTAN. AUGUST 2013. ShelterBox has been helping Syrian refugees in Iraq Kurdistan for over two years. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

IRAQ KURDISTAN. AUGUST 2013. ShelterBox has been helping Syrian refugees in Iraq Kurdistan for over two years. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

ShelterBox is striving to help families who have been forced from their homes due to conflict but remain within the borders of their own countries in Syria and Iraq.   
These internally displaced persons (IDPs) are just some of the 33.3 million that the United Nations estimates to be the IDP global population in their latest report.
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in northern Iraq. Reports state that fighting between militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and pro-government forces are driving hundreds of thousands of families from their homes, particularly in Mosul, to seek safety and shelter in Iraq Kurdistan’s peaceful cities of Erbil and Duhok.
ShelterBox has a team in Iraq Kurdistan meeting with partner aid agencies to see how it can support the humanitarian response, and shelter IDPs.
‘Families will be made to uproot again’
‘The IDP situation here is fluid,’ said one of ShelterBox’s operations coordinators currently in the country.  ‘Some families have already returned to Mosul but the fighting is expected to continue, which would increase the number of people in need in the days and weeks to come.
‘Coordination with other aid agencies and government bodies is key in this response to avoid duplications in aid efforts and help those in need more effectively and efficiently.’
IRAQ KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. Coordination with other aid agencies has been imperative in ShelterBox's responses in Syria and Iraq Kurdistan. Here is ShelterBox response team member Torstein Nielsen checking tents with local Kurdish partner Barzani Charity Foundation. (ShelterBox)

IRAQ KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. Coordination with other aid agencies has been imperative in ShelterBox’s responses in Syria and Iraq Kurdistan. Here is ShelterBox response team member Torstein Nielsen checking tents with local Kurdish partner Barzani Charity Foundation. (ShelterBox)

Meanwhile in Syria there are thought to be 6.5 million displaced people alone where ongoing conflict also causes families to be uprooted several times. Men, women and children face violence daily as they remain within an active conflict zone. Access to food, water, shelter and medical care is often limited as it’s hard for aid agencies to reach them.
Two trucks of ShelterBox aid en route to Syria
However ShelterBox has been providing vital aid to Syrian IDPs for over two years now by working with partner humanitarian organisations that already have a presence in the country.
‘We have just sent two more trucks of ShelterBox aid that will be delivered to IDPs in Syria by our long-term partner charity Hand in Hand for Syria,’ said ShelterBox operations coordinator Sam Hewett. ‘Tents are en route now along with Shelter Repair Kits, mosquito nets, water filters and carriers, blankets, groundsheets, SchoolBoxes and solar lamps.’
‘At first glance this UN report seems to describe a hopeless situation, with conflict on the rise globally, and numbers of refugees at a record high,’ said ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace. ‘But here, at ShelterBox, our outlook is hopeful because we have the means and experience to help provide families with shelter and essential equipment.
‘The numbers may be daunting, but that positive outlook reflects the attitude of our supporters, who give so generously because they are moved by the plight of these families on the run. ShelterBox is dedicated to doing all it can, wherever it can, to ease the suffering of those fleeing conflict.’
Thank you. 

ShelterBox Responds To Civil Unrest In Iraq

RAQ KURDISTAN. AUGUST 2013. Syrian refugees gather at camps in Iraq Kurdistan (Hunter Tanous/ShelterBox).

RAQ KURDISTAN. AUGUST 2013. Syrian refugees gather at camps in Iraq Kurdistan (Hunter Tanous/ShelterBox).

 

ShelterBox is liaising with partner aid agencies in Iraq Kurdistan to see how the international disaster relief charity can help people who have been forced to flee their homes as civil unrest spreads across the country.
Violence broke out in the city of Mosul earlier this week, forcing 500,000 people from their homes. The majority have fled further north to Iraq Kurdistan’s main cities of Erbil and Duhok to seek safety and shelter.
ShelterBox has been working in the region over the past few years helping Syrian refugee families, providing them with shelter and other vital aid. The charity’s operations department is in contact with its partner humanitarian organisations in the area.
‘We have been looking into the situation since the civil unrest began a few days ago,’ said ShelterBox operations manager Alf Evans. ‘We are getting updates from in country partner aid agencies who we’ve worked with before that include the latest figures of those displaced and where they are as well as the latest developments of what is a very fluid situation. We are waiting for a clearer picture to see how and if we can assist the displaced families, as many are staying in schools and with friends and relatives.’
You can find out more about Kurdistan here.
Please donate here: DONATE

Help Syrian Children And Families With ‘Socks 4 Syria’

Our 'Odd Sox' campaign has been remodelled as 'Socks 4 Syria

Our ‘Odd Sox’ campaign has been remodelled as ‘Socks 4 Syria

 

As part of ShelterBox Australia’s appeal to provide shelter and other essential aid to more displaced Syrian families, we are inviting schools, youth groups, workplaces and clubs to take part in an exciting and unique event.
The idea is simple: Ask everyone to show their silly, odd or colourful socks for the day and bring in a donation. It’s a great way to bring people together whilst raising vitally needed funds.
You can find out more about ‘Socks 4 Syria’ and download fundraising resources at our dedicated web page:
Syrian refugee children in the Domiz camp, Iraqi Kurdistan

Syrian refugee children in the Domiz camp, Iraqi Kurdistan

5 million children are affected by the Syrian conflict and in  desperate need of help. Why not get together with your school friends, work mates or family to organise a ‘Socks 4 Syria’ day?
Find out more about how ShelterBox is helping Syrian refugee families on our website:

Thanks for your support.

Voices From Iraqi Kurdistan: Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugees queuing for food at Krwigorsk camp, near Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, August 2013.

Syrian refugees queuing for food at Krwigorsk camp, near Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, August 2013.

 

As the world debates over military intervention in Syria following suspected deadly chemical attacks last week, ShelterBox has been in Iraqi Kurdistan responding to the influx of Syrian refugees into the country. 
ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Hunter Tanous (US) recounts the upsetting stories of Qadria and Tariq, displaced Syrians who the SRT met at Krwigorsk refugee camp near the capital Irbil.
‘We met Qadria as we walked though the camp. She was cutting watermelon in the entrance to her tent, offering us a piece as she sat shaded from the 50-degree heat. She is a woman who has lost everything, fleeing Damascus when her house was looted and husband killed. The smile on her face was a strong juxtaposition to the harrowing story we would soon hear.
‘Sign of a survivor’
‘There were six in her family, but only two daughters were with her in the camps. She lost her husband in the war and had to leave her two sons behind. She fled with her daughters by bus, making the journey to the border with Kurdistan. They saw bombs fall around them; not all of the buses arrived. She thanked God for the camp, for us, for the buses at the border that took her to this shelter.
Qadria sitting in her United Nations shelter at Krwigorsk refugee camp, August 2013.

Qadria sitting in her United Nations shelter at Krwigorsk refugee camp, August 2013.

 

‘Stacked around her were piles of blankets, more than needed for this heat. This is a sign of a survivor, a resourceful and strong woman who must plan for the winter, almost unimaginable in these temperatures. She is one of 15,000 in the camp today, with thousands more coming.
‘Family reunited’
‘We then met Tariq, aged 46. He and his family did not have shelter; just a ripped blanket propped up by a stick and attached to the side of another family’s tent. Without this the intensely high heat would quickly take its toll. As his family shared one plate of rice and a piece of chicken for the five of them, Tariq spoke of how his wife and three children had been separated from him and his son while fleeing. He cried for seven days until just that morning, when he found his wife and three children in the camp. It was ‘like paradise’ when his family was reunited again.
 
‘Challenge of finding shelter’
‘Although Tariq’s joy at reuniting with his family was bursting across his face, he now had the even larger challenge of finding shelter to keep them out of the heat. He had tried to ask for a tent but as of yet had not received one. His daughters were too young and his son too sick to help. He spoke of his old age and his injured back making it difficult to manage the distances in the camp and the shoving at distribution points.  Tariq’s family’s welfare depends only on shelter. ‘The only thing I need is a tent, just a tent,’ he said as we prepared to leave.
‘Our partners from the Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF) took his name and said they would make sure he received a tent as soon as they were available. Tariq was not the only one without a tent we saw that day.’
Shelter, comfort and a future
Following needs assessments, ShelterBoxes are en route to Irbil to be distributed to people in desperate need, like Tariq who has nothing except his family and clothes on their backs. Thank you for your support that is bringing shelter, comfort and a future to thousands affected by the Syria conflict.
You can help families in desperate need of shelter by DONATING HERE. Thank you.

 

 

ShelterBox Participates in World Refugee Day 2013

World Refugee Day 2013 - Over 5 million Syrians forced to leave their homes - that's more than twice the population of Paris

World Refugee Day 2013

The civil war in Syria has forced millions of families from their homes, and in many cases from the country entirely. With the increased fighting and changing of control of particularly hostile towns and villages, more and more civilians are flooding across the border into neighbouring countries. This World Refugee Day, ShelterBox would like to draw attention to the families in need in the region and its response to the ongoing conflict.

Over one million Syrian people have registered as refugees since the beginning of the year, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). There are now over 1.6 million refugees, three quarters of them being women and children, seeking safety and shelter in foreign countries, placing unprecedented strain on communities, infrastructure and services in host countries.
ShelterBox has been helping Syrian families in need in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon over the past 18 months. The vast majority of fleeing families arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs.
UNHCR has said if current trends persist, it can be expected that over three million Syrians would have left the country by the end of 2013. Thanks to donors worldwide, ShelterBox will continue to bring essential aid to Syrian families in need whilst needs remain.
If you would like to make a difference to a family made homeless by disaster and help alleviate their suffering please donate here.

 

ShelterBox Continues to Pursue Aid Pipeline for Syrian Crisis

ShelterBox Response Team member Gerry De Vries working to distirbute aid in Lebanon in March 2013.

ShelterBox Response Team member Gerry De Vries working to distirbute aid in Lebanon in March 2013.

 

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been assessing the feasibility of distributing more aid within Syria itself, after meeting with humanitarian agencies in Turkey. 

ShelterBox has been responding to the Syrian conflict since the beginning of 2012. What started out as a peaceful protest against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the southern Province of Deraa has degenerated into a regional interethnic civil war. The growing violence, sectarian tensions and economic hardship is forcing more and more Syrian families from their homes in what has become a very complex and dynamic situation.

However there remains a desperate need for aid within Syria with the numbers of people fleeing conflict rising daily. According to the Humanitarian Information Unit there are an estimated 4 million people in need of aid within Syria itself including 3.6 million individuals who have been forced from their homes. During their visit to Turkey for discussions with humanitarian actors the SRT learned that nearly two and a half thousand people arrived at a camp near the Turkish border in one day alone.

‘Turkey has reached capacity, and refugee populations are beginning to have a destabilising influence in Lebanon’ said SRT member Sam Hewett (UK).

‘ShelterBox hopes to work in partnership with a Syrian non-political humanitarian organisation based in the UK that has close links with grassroots community organisations within Syria. This will hopefully allow us to continue our commitment to helping families in need.’

SRT Gerry de Vries (NL) instructs volunteers and refugees in Job Jannine, Bekaa, Valley, Lebanon

SRT Gerry de Vries (NL) instructs volunteers and refugees in Job Jannine, Bekaa, Valley, Lebanon

Multi-regional approach 

The complex nature of the Syrian conflict has served to make an effective humanitarian assistance program increasingly difficult but has also allowed ShelterBox to maximise the potential for a more fluid and collaborative operational response. Indeed it is through continued perseverance to finding a logistical pipeline to the most affected areas and engaging with local and International partners, which has meant that ShelterBox has been able to deliver aid into several locations across the affected region.

In Syria ShelterBox brought winter kits including blankets, groundsheets, water carriers, stoves, jerry cans, hats, gloves and scarfs to families living at Al-Salameh camp ,to protect them from the freezing winter conditions. In Iraq ShelterBox have delivered winterised ShelterBox disaster relief tents with other aid designed for cold conditions, bringing shelter and warmth to families living at Domiz refugee camp. ShelterBox was also a pioneer in distributing tents to Syrian refugees in Lebanon with the permission of the Lebanese Government. SRT’s were able to work with multiple implementing partners across various hubs to deliver much needed emergency shelter to cold vulnerable families in need.

In Jordan additional winterised ShelterBoxes have been distributed along the Syrian border providing a rest area for newly arriving Syrian refugee families.

The opportunity to deliver aid within Syria via a logistical route through Turkey represents the latest milestone in what has been a determined commitment to help as many families as possible despite constantly evolving and undoubtedly challenging conditions. It is thanks to the support of our donors that ShelterBox can continue to pursue operational and logistical solutions to this complex situation.

ShelterBox Update: Syria refugee crisis

Syrian refugee children at Domiz camp, Iraq Kurdistan, November 2012.

Syrian refugee children at Domiz camp, Iraq Kurdistan, November 2012.

 

Hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians are displaced from their homes due to unrest in the Syrian Arab Republic that has been mounting since March 2011. 

To date, over 411,000 people are estimated by the United Nations to have fled to neighbouring Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon, putting an increasing strain on the governments and host communities. Up to two million are displaced within Syria itself. Numbers are not going to ease.

ShelterBox has partnered with Solidarités International, a humanitarian organisation that provides aid and assistance to survivors of war or natural disaster, to bring ShelterBox aid to internally displaced families in Syria living along Turkey’s border.

A truck is en route to the affected area packed with ShelterBox kit including blankets, groundsheets, sets of hats, gloves and scarfs, water carriers, stoves and fuel bottles, as requested by Solidarités International. They stressed the urgency of the need for this winterised aid as families are becoming desperate with cold, wet winter conditions approaching.

‘Inadequate insulation’ 

‘Some people are living in basic, cold concrete structures, others in tents, that are both not winterised so therefore have inadequate insulation,’ said a representative from Solidarités International. ‘Many do not have proper cooking equipment either.’

Read more here: SYRIAN CRISIS