In 2011 we raised funds to provide temporary accommodation for victims of the Victorian bushfires and overseas disasters.
ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers
emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide and are homeless. The initial challenge is usually medical aid and making sure everyone has access to water and food. However, another essential is shelter - because without protection from the elements survival can be a real battle, particularly for the young, old and infirm.
To deal with this specific challenge, ShelterBox was launched by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in the UK in April 2000 and the first boxes sent to India in January 2001. Now, ShelterBox has become one of the most effective aid agencies in the world, and is still administered by Rotary.
In April an underwater earthquake registering 8.0 on the Richter scale caused a tsunami to hit the Solomon Islands. The epicentre of the quake was just 25 miles from the island of Gizo, leaving 5,000 people homeless. Almost immediately, 200 ShelterBoxes were flown from the UK to Brisbane, then transported to the capital, Honiara, and then a further 200 miles by sea to Gizo, making the final stage of the journey by canoe – providing shelter for 2,000 people.
ShelterBox goal is to help 500,000 people every year. By 2008 96,500 ShelterBoxes had been sent out.
- Immediately after the floods in Australia, 200 ShelterBoxes were placed on standby
- In the six months to June, 2,680 ShelterBoxes had been deployed to 8 countries: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Bolivia and Columbia
Each ShelterBox contains a dry weatherproof shelter, a warm bed, collapsible containers and water purification, cooking equipment, including a multi-fuel stove, and eating utensils, a practical toolkit and a children's pack – for 10 people. The contents are tailored depending on the nature and location of the disaster, with great care taken sourcing every item to ensure it is robust enough to be of lasting value.
The cost of a box is $1,000, including delivery direct to those who need it. Each box bears its own unique number so a donor (in this case, our club) can track its boxes all the way to its recipient country via the website.