ShelterBox Team in Kenya Following Severe Floods

‘Access to affected communities is challenging’ – ShelterBox team in Kenya to assess shelter needs after major flooding and a burst dam

Flooding in Kenya has so far claimed 170 lives. Last week a dam in the Rift Valley burst unleashing reservoir waters that careered into two villages killing more than 50 people. ShelterBox is now in Kenya to see if it can help, as an estimated 300,000 people have now been forced from their homes.

Across Kenya heavy rain and landslides have caused over a quarter of a million people to leave their homes. Some in remote communities needed rescuing by helicopter.

A dam burst on a commercial flower farm in Kenya’s Rift Valley has killed more than 50 people in two villages, half of them children. The reservoir, situated on top of a hill 120 miles from Nairobi, gave way a week ago today as nearby residents were sitting down to their evening meals. The deluge swept away powerlines, homes and buildings, including a primary school. The search through mud for bodies is still continuing.

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox is expert in providing emergency shelter for displaced communities, and can supply essential items such as solar lighting where power is down, tools and tarpaulins for rebuilding, and water filtration where there are fears of water-borne disease.

ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Rachel Harvey is currently in Nairobi, and says, ‘The rains this year have been heavy and protracted. The cumulative impact on roads and other infrastructure has been severe which makes access to affected communities challenging. Even when the flood waters recede the damage will take time to repair.’   

Two ShelterBox response volunteers flew out to Kenya yesterday to talk to government agencies and the aid community to see whether there is a role for ShelterBox in this ongoing disaster response. Operations Coordinator Jo Arponen says, ‘Initially it seemed the local authorities and the Kenyan Red Cross had enough resources to manage the flooding situation. But now we are hearing that stocks of high quality shelter materials are running low. So our team will be working out what is needed where and how long it might take to get ShelterBox aid into the country. We need to make sure that any aid we send is appropriate and timely.’

ShelterBox has responded in Kenya several times over the years, including in 2010 to flooding in the Turkana region, to widespread drought in 2011/12 when 7,000 tents were supplied, and to help families fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries in 2006 and post-election violence in 2008.

Horn of Africa: What is Famine and What Causes It?

ShelterBoxes being transported to hard-to-reach families in need in Ethiopia, August 2011.

ShelterBoxes being transported to hard-to-reach families in need in Ethiopia, August 2011.

The Horn of Africa crisis in 2011 was labelled as the worst in 60 years, caused by a combination of sustained drought, swiftly increasing food prices and escalating conflict in Somalia. By September 2011, over 13 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. 
ShelterBox delivered 7,000 disaster relief tents to displaced families in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, bringing them shelter and a place of privacy at a time of desperate need. However over the past two years, many people have been struggling against famine and continue to do so today. So, what is famine and what causes it?
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a five-step scale that classifies the severity and magnitude of food insecurity, used by the United Nations (UN) and other humanitarian organisations.
Read more here: HORN OF AFRICA
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New Arrivals at Dadaab in Kenya Receive Shelter

Displaced family in a ShelterBox tent in Dadaab, Kenya, following ShelterBox's response to drought, famine and conflict in August 2011

Displaced family in a ShelterBox tent in Dadaab, Kenya, following ShelterBox’s response to drought, famine and conflict in August 2011


Somali refugee families fleeing famine and conflict now have a safe place to live at Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have been managing the Dadaab camp complex situated around 64 kilometres from the Kenya-Somalia border.

IOM has been distributing disaster relief tents to displaced families who recently arrived on behalf of ShelterBox.

‘ShelterBox has a strong relationship with IOM,’ said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Fionn Mckee. ‘The IOM Kenya team regularly update us about the situation in and around the Dadaab camp, and it was becoming clear that more tents were required to house the new arrivals.

‘ShelterBox responded with 500 tents which IOM Kenya had set up and occupied within days of Etihad Airlines flying them into Nairobi. I’d like to thank Etihad for transporting the tents at a very generous below-market rate. Every time ShelterBox secures this type of in-kind support we are making our donors’ money go further. We are all making more difference to the families we are supporting during life-changing events.’

The conflict in Somalia began in 1991 and has left the country divided. Over the past few years, more than a million people have been forced from their homes due to extreme violence across the country.

The Horn of Africa One Year On

Drought and famine spread across the Horn of Africa last year, displacing hundreds of thousands of families. ShelterBox responded immediately and within two months 1,504 boxes were distributed in Ethiopia and 7,000 tents in Kenya, making it ShelterBox’s largest distribution in 2011. This short video tells the story:

You can read more about the deployment to Ethiopia here:

The Long road to From Addis Ababa to Dolo Ado

Great to  See The First ShelterBox Tents go up in Dolo Ado