Give The Gift Of Shelter This Christmas

This Christmas, families around the world will find themselves homeless and in desperate need of help. Whether they have lost their homes to a natural disaster, like the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti or have been forced to leave their homes because of conflict, like the millions fleeing the violence in Syria and Iraq, their needs are quite simple: Shelter, Warmth & Dignity.

Make a donation to the ‘ShelterBox Solution’ as a gift for a loved one and receive this special card to give in lieu of your present.

All you have to do is make a donation of $50 or more by clicking the button below and email us at sbaoffice@shelterbox.org.au to notify us that this is a Christmas gift and we’ll send the card out to you. The cut-off date to receive your card in time for Christmas is 15th December.

The ‘ShelterBox Solution’ is our flexible disaster relief fund, allowing us to respond more accurately to beneficiary needs. This might be in the form of a Shelter Kit, relief tent, SchoolBox, or a wide variety of non-food items, like water filters, mosquito nets and solar lights.


Shelter Kits kits provide families with to the tools to build their own shelter or repair a damaged home. Increasingly governments are wanting families affected by disaster to be part of their own recovery, building back better and stronger homes and more resilient communities.

Of course there will always be a place for ShelterBoxes, especially where families have lost everything. To sponsor a box costs $1,000 and if you do so as a gift for a loved one you’ll receive this special card.

Donate here to sponsor a box and give a gift that really makes a difference.

Thank you for your support and Merry Christmas from all of us at ShelterBox Australia.

Other ways to donate:
Phone: 1300 996 038
Post a cheque to: ShelterBox Australia, PO Box 254, Parramatta, NSW, 2124
EFT or direct deposit:  Westpac, ShelterBox Australia, BSB 032 189, account # 230 147. Please make sure you email sbaoffice@shelterbox.org.au to notify us of you donation and that it is Christmas Gift.

Shelter Kits enable Haitians to ‘Build Back Better’

Australian ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) volunteer, Peita Berzins has just returned from Haiti where she has been heavily involved in getting much-needed aid into the stricken country. Peita, a retired teacher and author from The Entrance on the NSW Central Coast was working as part of team that included fellow Aussie, Art Shrimpton. This was Peita’s second deployment with ShelterBox, having previously helped in our response to flooding in Malawi in 2014.

Australian ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) volunteers, Peita Berzins and Art Shrimpton have joined the relief effort in Haiti

Australian ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) volunteers, Peita Berzins and Art Shrimpton joined the relief effort in Haiti.

Peita reports on her experience below:

I’ve just returned from my second deployment with ShelterBox, to Haiti, a country in crisis. Moreover, Haiti continues to struggle with the profound aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, with the vast majority of its population living in dire poverty. There is a deep bitterness that the billions of dollars in foreign aid which poured in after the earthquake largely did not reach the needy or alleviate entrenched problems.

Today the strong message from the Haitian government about shelter aid is that tents may be used for medical or educational purposes, but not housing; it is shelter kits that are needed here. The message is “Build Back Better.” The two strong tarpaulins, tools and building fixings found in a shelter kit provide a flexible shelter solution that beneficiaries can use in versatile way – providing roofing, or walls, or repairing other structures.

shelterkit

The cultural, historical and social context of the ruling “Build Back Better” is that in the capital Port au Prince are unruly tent cities, where people still live after the earthquake. These cities are dangerous, no-go areas; hence, a different response is required in the cyclone-affected areas to the south and west.

Our first distribution of shelter kits and NFIs (non food items) will occur this week in the cyclone affected areas to the south, in and near Les Cayes, where we plan initially to work with a local community NGO, 410 Bridge.

I was part of the second team in, and I learned a lot about Logistics. This involves the transiting of kit (in our case, 3000 shelter kits, 6000 LuminAID solar lights, 5800 mosquito nets, 3000 Thirst Aid water purifiers, 3000 water jerry cans) through customs via a consignee, into a warehouse, onto trucks and out to our beneficiaries. This requires developing good relationships with each of these people, as well as keeping track of stock control, planned arrivals and distribution spreadsheets. I was guided by our excellent ICC (In Country Coordinator) Richard Innes (UK) and Logs whiz Lesley Garside (UK).

Peita and Art in the warehouse

Peita and Art in the Chatelaine Cargo warehouse

In the real world of the Haitian capital, Port au Prince, our first delivery of stock arrived at the airport, but then we had the local national two-day holiday for Halloween (November 1 and 2) when everything shuts down!! This resulted in a back-log and delays – a typical part of Logistics and the lives of ShelterBox Response Team Members!

Finally, when our consignment was delivered to the Chatelaine Cargo warehouse, we worked hard, alongside international young volunteers from the NGO All Hands, packing the NFIs into “handbags” to accompany the shelter kits. Team members, Ashton Josephs(UK) and Art Shrimpton(AUS), with help from Dave Ray in HQ, worked out terrific practical guidelines, illustrated and annotated in the native Creole, to assist in ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions and be disseminated to leaders in the local communities. These guidelines include practical advice on building stronger structures and effective ways of securing tarpaulins.

I left Haiti last week knowing our distribution is in good hands with our ShelterBox teams in Port au Prince and in the field. From a broader perspective, clearly Haiti’s problems are serious and long-term; at least we can hope that our supplies to the people in the Les Cayes area go some way to improving their immediate circumstances. 

You can help our efforts in Haiti and other countries affected by disaster by donating to our disaster relief fund, The ShelterBox Solution.

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Shelterbox Partner, Relief Aid’s Office Bombed In Aleppo

ShelterBox shelter kits being distributed by Relief Aid in Aleppo

 

Just as the distribution of the last of 4,000 kits to Aleppo families had finished, the offices of ShelterBox distribution partner, ReliefAid were wrecked by an air strike. Working in one of the most dangerous places on earth, Aleppo’s aid workers say that time is fast running out. Moving words from an aid worker trapped in the unfolding horror of Aleppo – a city bomb-strewn and besieged. Farid (name changed for security reasons) talks to us directly from the east of the city, and the scene of an air strike on their Aleppo HQ.

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO FILE HERE

Farid says, ‘On the 9 August at 8.00 am, just an hour before starting a new work day, the building next to our office get air strike. Thank God the damage is in the infrastructure, and we move the equipment to a safe place and suspended the work to ensure the safety of the team members.’

Actually we get used to air strikes, bombs and everything in our neighbourhoods, and all of the city. But now the situation is so different. Our work is the only reason to stay in Aleppo and take all the risk. We help our people, we bring clean water to them, we bring blankets to warm them, we bring solar lamps. This is our people, and the reason we stay in Aleppo. But now we are disappointed and shocked.

ShelterBox has provided 4,000 aid packages to families in Aleppo via in-country partners, New Zealand-based ReliefAid. The kits they provide to families are a mix of life-saving essentials including water purification equipment, jerry cans, mats, solar lamps, tarpaulins, mosquito nets and kitchen sets. In recent days the UN has insisted that only 48 hour ceasefires will allow aid to flow again into the surrounded city, which is now mostly without clean water, electricity, fuel for generators or vehicles, with food supplies dwindling and unaffordable.

Aleppo has been under constant siege for more than 4 years ©Voice of America News: Scott Bobb

This week, the United Nations children’s agency warned that children are at ‘grave risk of disease’ unless water supplies are immediately repaired. Healthcare provision is also shattered, with Aleppo doctor Hamza Al-Khatib telling BBC Newsnight that it is ‘a nightmare for medics and for patients.’ Yesterday there were reports of a barrel bomb explosion releasing toxic chlorine gas.

Just before the air strike on ReliefAid’s offices Farid reported, ‘I couldn’t leave my home for four days because the bombing gets so heavy on my neighbourhood. I couldn’t even leave to get any food or water. My situation is similar to 300,000 other people who live in Aleppo, 19,000 of them children under 2 years.’ ‘So many families rely on humanitarian aid, they have no money, and after the (Castello) road closed they have nothing to eat. The security situation is so bad, and the bombing is so heavy. People who will not die from bombing they will start to starve, they will drink unclean water, they will die from lack of medicine and healthcare.’

ShelterBox shelterkits in the Relief Aid warehouse

Just ahead of the air strike Executive Director of ReliefAid, Mike Seawright, reported good news about the last shipment of ShelterBox aid to arrive in the city. ‘I am pleased to announce that we have completed the distribution of the remaining 250 kits to families with special needs within the city. As such all 1,500 summer shelter kits are now in the hands of over 9000 people living within the city.’ ‘It has been a challenging time for our team but I am proud to say they have managed the situation well, in what have been very difficult circumstances. Families continue to experience acute needs within the city, and we stand ready to assist those in dire need.’

ReliefAid’s brave team has been distributing shelter kits in Aleppo for ShelterBox over the last six months – a total of 4,000 kits able to support over 24,500 people.

You can help by donating to our Syrian Refugee Appeal

Shelter Kits Provide The Tools To Rebuild Family Homes

Image of a Shelter kit in a duffle bag

 

Losing a home, through damage or total destruction, is devastating for anyone, but for some people, their home means more than bricks, mortar and memories. For people like 21-year-old Eliza, who is blind and epileptic, home is a safe place that she can navigate by touch and feel.
When floods and heavy rains deluged towns and villages early this year, her thatched roof was weakened and a large vertical crack appeared at the back of Eliza’s home, destabilising the whole building.
Unfortunately, there was no one who could take in Eliza and her five-year-old son, or even help to fix the crack. She is a single mother and her own parents have passed away from AIDS. Her elderly grandfather and a neighbour provide Eliza and her son with food when they can, but they have little to spare.
A ShelterBox response team were told that Eliza might need assistance. They travelled through dense fields, many of which contain crops ravaged by the floodwaters, to reach Eliza’s mud hut.
Using a shelter kit to repair the damage made by severe rains and flooding meant that Eliza and her five-year-old son were able to stay in their family home. (Credit Steven Tonkinson/ShelterBox)

Using a shelter kit to repair the damage made by severe rains and flooding meant that Eliza and her five-year-old son were able to stay in their family home. (Credit Steven Tonkinson/ShelterBox)

 

When they arrived, the team decided that instead of moving Eliza and her son into a ShelterBox tent, which would be wholly unfamiliar, they would do their best to make the home habitable again.
They used the contents of a shelter kit, which includes heavy-duty tarpaulins and other tools to make repairs and create temporary shelters, to reinforce the building and weatherproof it against future bad weather.
They also provided the family with mosquito nets, blankets and insulating groundsheets to ensure that that they were safe and comfortable.
In Malawi, our team distributed a variety of aid, from ShelterBoxes containing sturdy tents, to shelter kits and other essentials like mosquito nets and blankets. We tailored our response to meet the different needs of communities and families to make sure that people like Eliza could move on from disaster and return to normal life.

Distributing Shelter Kits To Flood-Hit Families In Chile

Torrential floods caused massive damage in the Atacama region of Chile. (John Cordell/ShelterBox)

Torrential floods caused massive damage in the Atacama region of Chile. (John Cordell/ShelterBox)

ShelterBox is working in partnership with fellow aid agency Habitat for Humanity to distribute shelter kits to people whose homes have been severely damaged by flooding in the Atacama region of Chile.

This spring, the Atacama region of Chile, which is usually one of the driest places on Earth, received more than seven years’ worth of rain in just 24 hours, causing massive damage to homes, buildings and infrastructure.

When the flooding first took place, many people moved in with host families, but now that the waters have started to recede, the focus has shifted to repairing homes.

ShelterBox has therefore decided to send 1,000 shelter kits to the region, which cannot only be used to make temporary shelters, but contain ropes, tarpaulins and tools to help clear away debris and to make repairs on structures, such as waterproofing roofs.

The kits are being distributed by Habitat for Humanity, an organisation specialising in eliminating homelessness and housing issues in countries around the world, which has been working in Chile for the last 14 years. In addition, the Chilean Red Cross and the regional government will be helping to distribute shelter kits too.

ShelterBox response team member John Cordell, who was part of a team that carried out assessments on the need for shelter in Chile, explained the benefits of using shelter kits: ‘Our work with Habitat for Humanity in Chile to provide shelter kits to people after the flooding disaster is helping to bridge the transition from an emergency response to a more enduring shelter solution.’

ShelterBox is also partnering with Habitat for Humanity elsewhere in Chile following another natural disaster. In the south of the country, the Calbuco Volcano has erupted several times, causing flows of mud and debris to damage everything in their path, while ash clouds have travelled hundreds of miles, burying houses in as much as 10 inches of ash.

A further 500 shelter kits will be distributed to families whose houses have been damaged by the volcanic activity.

Video: Rebuilding Homes In Malawi

Two women with Shelter Kits balanced on their heads

People in Malawi receive shelter kits to help repair homes damaged by heavy rains and flooding. (Rachel Harvey/ShelterBox)

 

During our recent response in Malawi to extreme rainfall and flooding, which destroyed many homes and left others uninhabitable, ShelterBox provided a mixture of aid items tailored to the needs of each community.

When intense rainfall at the start of the year caused some of the worst floods Malawi had seen in more than 40 years, ShelterBox started a response that lasted almost three months. In that time, the response teams not only worked hard to find vulnerable families that had completely lost their homes, but also those who needed assistance in repairing and waterproofing damaged homes.

In this video, ShelterBox response team member Rachel Harvey shows us how the teams identified people who would benefit from shelter kits, which contain items such as tarpaulins, nails and tools, to help people repair damaged structures as well as make temporary shelters if needed too.

Rachel and her team also visited one of the recipients of a shelter kit to see how useful it had been. While they were there, they were able to help make a few adjustments to ensure that the family’s new tarpaulin roof would remain secure and waterproof.

During our response in Malawi, we were able to provide shelter to almost 2,000 families in total (including 1,224 ShelterBoxes)

Tents And Adaptable Shelter Kits Arrive In Nepal

Image of mother and child standing in front of a pile of rubble that used to be their home

Just one of thousands of devastated homes in Nepal (Becky Maynard/ShelterBox)

 

ShelterBox’s logistics team, along with help from our response teams in Nepal, have worked around the clock to transport aid into Nepal. Despite major logistical challenges and a bottleneck at Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu, an initial 500 tents, along with 500 shelter kits have now arrived in the country to bring shelter to the thousands of communities torn apart by the massive earthquake.
 
While early reports suggest that around 600,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, the full extent of the 7.8 magnitude quake that hit between the major cities of Pokhara and the capital of Kathmandu is yet to be revealed.
Our ShelterBox response teams are currently based in Kathmandu as well as in the district of Sindhupalchowk, where around 95% of buildings have been damaged or totally destroyed by the shock of the earthquake.
In Kathmandu and other urban areas, the main priority is to clear rubble, and to rebuild structures, while in rural and remote areas, whole villages have been totally devastated.
Nicola Hinds, who arrived in Nepal last week, said: ‘We have already heard that in the area of Gorkha, 90% of buildings have been destroyed and a further 5% have been partially destroyed. We believe that it will be a real challenge to reach all of these communities, but we will find a way because that’s what ShelterBox does.’
As different types of aid are needed in different parts of the country, ShelterBox’s logistics team, based in Helston, UK, have decided to send 500 UN specification tents and 500 shelter kits from pre-positioned stocks in Dubai.
Families in remote areas, who have completely lost their homes, will be provided with tents, while shelter kits will be distributed to people living in urban areas.
image of shovel, hoe, saw, hammer, tin snips, wire, bags of nails, rope and bag

The contents of a Shelter Tool Kit together with 2 tarpaulins forms a Shelter Kit

The kits, which contain tarpaulins, rope and essential tools for building, can be used to help clear rubble, to make temporary shelters and to repair damaged homes.
Shane Revill, Supply Chain Manager, said: “By sending out a range of different aid, we are ensuring that we meet the needs of different communities. In rural areas, whole villages have been destroyed, so it is essential that families have shelter to protect them from the elements. In cities like Kathmandu, the contents of our shelter kits will help people to rebuild their homes while be able to stay close to their families and communities.’

Since the earthquake struck, our ShelterBox response team members have already distributed tents, which were pre-positioned in the country, to hospitals in Nepal that had been badly damaged by the quake. They have also been working with other aid organisations to help deliver essential food and shelter to remote communities in Nepal’s mountains.

ShelterBox will continue to send further aid to Nepal and is currently finalising partnerships with fellow aid agencies Handicap International (HI), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, (ACTED), to ensure that we reach as many communities in need of shelter as possible.