ShelterBox Helps Schools Recover in Solomon Islands

ShelterBox aid arriving on the island of Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, February 2013.

ShelterBox aid arriving on the island of Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, February 2013.


ShelterBox tents have been used to assist schools in the Solomon Islands in their recovery programmes in partnership with World Vision (WV), following the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that shook the island of Santa Cruz last February. 
The tremor caused three waves of approximately 1.5 metres in height, which came inland flooding many coastal villages in Temotu province.  The tsunami caused substantial damage to houses, community buildings, agriculture, schools, water supplies and power lines.
ShelterBox was quick to respond sending disaster relief tents from stock prepositioned in New Zealand to meet the immediate shelter needs of the affected population.
‘Over the past few months the tents have been used by teachers and other staff members across 14 schools that were affected in Santa Cruz as temporary housing to enable them to continue to teach and work during the recovery phase,’ said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Dave Ray. ‘World Vision acted as our implementing partner distributing the tents alongside classroom tents provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).’

Tents useful in recovery

Martin Laale is the principle at Nea community high school that was forced to close down after the disaster. In an interview with WV, he said he found the disaster relief tents to be very useful in the early recovery plans:
‘Thanks to WV and ShelterBox, teachers who lost their homes were able to stay in the tents at the school letting them to remain in work and earn a living as well as allowing students to continue to learn and resume their education.’



ShelterBox Aid Arrives For Solomons’ Tsunami Survivors

(RNZAF Boeing 757 being unloaded at Honiara Airport, Solomon Islands)

(RNZAF Boeing 757 being unloaded at Honiara Airport, Solomon Islands)


Relief supplies have begun trickling into tsunami-hit communities in the Solomon Islands, as another powerful aftershock rattled the Pacific nation in the wake of last week’s 8.0-magnitude earthquake.
The New Zealand  High Commissioner Mark Ramsden announced yesterday that “New Zealand is committed to helping a friend and neighbour at a time of need,” Mr Ramsden said.

“These supplies, many of which have been generously donated by New Zealand businesses, will go some way to meeting the needs of people on Santa Cruz who have lost almost everything in the tsunami.”

ShelterBox SRT’s Lyndon Tamblyn and Owen Smith both from New Zealand are now on the ground in Honiara working with our partner World Vision and local Rotarians to get their much needed supplies to families in need.

ShelterBox SRT Lyndon Tamblyn and "Kiwi" colleagues loading ShelterBox tents

ShelterBox SRT Lyndon Tamblyn and “Kiwi” colleagues loading ShelterBox tents


The aid supplies which include ShelterBox tents, blankets, sanitation kits, tarpaulins and water containers have been donated to World Vision by The Warehouse and ShelterBox, and chainsaw packs provided by the New Zealand Government have today been unloaded from the Royal New Zealand AirForce Boeing 757 in Honiara and transferred to the cargo boat M.V. Arnavona which will depart for Santa Cruz this evening.

The number of aftershocks had slowed but not halted aid operations in the remote Santa Cruz islands, where at least 10 people died in the tsunami, triggered by the quake last Wednesday.

The Solomon Islands government has declared the Santa Cruz Islands a disaster area. Aerial surveys indicate most of the damage is confined to the Lata region.

Almost 600 houses are believed to have been destroyed, with most of the destruction caused in the initial earthquake and the metre-high tsunami which swept through coastal areas soon after, leaving more than 3,000 people homeless.




ShelterBox Responds to Cyclone Evan in Fiji

Photograph by NASA - NASA’s Earth Observatory

Photograph by NASA – NASA’s Earth Observatory


A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has arrived in Fiji to assess the need for emergency shelter following Cyclone Evan, the biggest cyclone to strike the Pacific nation in two decades that has left western parts of the main island Viti Levu the hardest hit. 

To enable a rapid response to the disaster, the SRT members Owen Smith and Ross McKenzie are from New Zealand and were on standby to be flown out on the next available flight as soon as the storm passed over Fiji.

The category four storm with winds of over 200 kilometres per hour and heavy rains destroyed homes, caused flash floods and cut power. The Fiji times reported Lautoka, the nation’s second largest city, looking like a ‘war zone’.

Due to advanced government warnings, more than 8,000 people found safety during the cyclone by taking shelter across 137 evacuation centres, according to the Ministry of Information.

ShelterBoxes prepositioned 

There are ShelterBoxes prepositioned in Fiji with Rotarians that the disaster relief charity worked with on its previous response last April to heavy flooding in the same area. ShelterBox will therefore be able to quickly bring shelter and dignity to displaced families in need.

‘We are very concerned by media reports of the destruction in Fiji caused by Cyclone Evan,’ said Owen before the SRT flew out. ‘We are well prepared to respond, however, and will be doing everything we can to deploy ShelterBoxes quickly and effectively.’

ShelterBox Brings Smiles to Flood-Hit Fiji

Flooded roads and the hot tropical weather have not stopped the Response Team in Fiji from distributing ShelterBoxes to the most vulnerable families in the most remote villages. 

Saule and Usenia Qialevu and their three children had their home destroyed by the recent flooding in the village of Matavouvou near the city of Nadi. They are now living in a ShelterBox tent close to their house so they have somewhere to live as they begin to reconstruct their home.

ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Lyndon Tamblyn (NZ) has been distributing the aid in the South Pacific island with help from local Rotarians:

Saule and Usenia and their children outside their new home with SRT member Sally Fletcher (NZ), April 2012.

Saule and Usenia and their children outside their new home with SRT member Sally Fletcher (NZ), April 2012.

Saule and Usenia were one of many families whose homes were utterly devastated by the heavy downpours. They were very thankful towards ShelterBox and Rotary when we gave them a box. Usenia was humbled by the tent and the contents of the ShelterBox that will really make a difference to them as a family.’

‘The ability to give this truly deserving family dignity, hope and essential items is a real privilege,’ said SRT member Sally Fletcher (NZ).

Etatoki village in western Fiji was also hit by the flooding, where some areas of land subsided into a nearby river destroying several families’ homes. The displaced families each received the gift of a ShelterBox, which were set up together on a family plot.

ShelterBox has brought these Fijian families new homes allowing them to start to rebuild their lives again whilst living in comfort and dignity.

Further boxes have been prepositioned in Fiji that will enable ShelterBox to respond rapidly if disasters strike there in the future.

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ShelterBox Team on the Ground in Fiji

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) carrying out a needs assessment in Fiji has found that affected communities are cut off by high floodwaters. The flooding has caused extensive damage to roads and bridges making aid delivery conditions challenging.

There is widespread damage to infrastructure in the western part of the south pacific island where thousands of families have been made homeless.

The main cities Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka, Tavua, Ba and Rakiraki are the worst hit areas and have been flooded by up to two metres of water in places.

SRT members Lyndon Tamblyn (NZ) and Sally Fletcher (NZ) have had logistical support from local Rotary and Fiji’s disaster management agency DISMAC, including local knowledge of the affected area and transport.

SRT Sally Fletcher in flood-hit Fiji

SRT Sally Fletcher (NZ) in flood-hit Fiji



‘We have been working closely with Rotarians here and also DISMAC to assess the need for emergency humanitarian aid,’ said Sally. ‘But although we are in a 4×4 truck, we still cannot reach some communities as some roads are still completely submerged underwater preventing us from crossing. As the waters begin to recede, we will be returning to these areas. Tomorrow we are heading further north to see what the situation is like in communities up there.’

DISMAC director Pajiliai Dobui said to reporters: ‘If people in these areas have boats, we’re asking them to make them available, as the little we have is not enough.’

Although Cyclone Daphne has passed Fiji, more rain is expected over the next few days.

ShelterBoxes are en route to the flood-stricken country from prepositioned stock in New Zealand’s capital Auckland

ShelterBox Mobilises to Help Flood-Struck Fiji

ShelterBox Australia is working closely with it’s New Zealand counterparts and the Rotary Club of Suva East to coordinate a response to the heavy flooding that has hit the South Pacific Islands of Fiji. A ShelterBox Response Team, comprising, Lyndon Tamblyn (NZ) and Sallie Fletcher (NZ) will fly out to assess needs and facilitate the importation and distribution of emergency aid.

SRT Lyndon Tamblyn (NZ) in Suva November 2011

SRT Lyndon Tamblyn (NZ) in Suva, November 2011, following Cyclone Thomas

With a state of emergency declared in the West of the island nation, some 12,000 people are currently housed in evacuation centres, and nearly 3,000 households affected thus far. Although the rains eased over the weekend, the threat posed by the approaching Cyclone Daphne gives cause for grave concern.

ShelterBox Australia Director, Lasse Petersen said,

“We are consulting with several key players, including Rotary in Suva, DISMAC (Fijian disaster management), The Red Cross and the New Zealand Government to coordinate an appropriate and rapid response.