Monday 12 April 2010
Haiti Earthquake: Three months on
Three months on from one of the worst disasters ever witnessed, over 100,000 Haitian earthquake survivors are rebuilding their lives in ShelterBox tents.
ShelterBox has now delivered over 13,000 ShelterBoxes to families who lost everything in the magnitude 7 quake, with each box containing a disaster relief tent to house a family of up to 10 and other items essential for survival.
As the world marks the three-month anniversary of the disaster, ShelterBox is preparing to send another 5,000 boxes of aid – enough for a further 50,000 people – with thousands more ShelterBoxes due to arrive in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, during the coming months.
Tom Henderson, ShelterBox Founder and CEO, said: ‘We were one of the first agencies on the ground in Port au Prince when the earthquake struck, and thanks to the sheer grit and determination of all our volunteers and supporters, we have now distributed aid to over 100,000 Haitians most in need.
‘With tens of thousands of families still living without adequate shelter in heavy rains and the hurricane season soon approaching, the need for emergency shelter is still great and we won’t rest until this need is met.’
ShelterBox began its response to the Haiti earthquake just 12 minutes after the quake struck at 2150GMT on January 12, mobilising a ShelterBox Response Team to Port au Prince. The next day, the first ShelterBoxes left the charity’s HQ in Helston, Cornwall bound for Haiti.
The first boxes arrived five days after the earthquake and were used to set up emergency field hospitals, immediately saving lives by providing vital shelter to patients who had nowhere to go.
Hundreds more boxes followed and ShelterBox camps were set up in suburbs of Port au Prince including Delmas, where families with newborn babies and pregnant women were prioritised for emergency shelter. A total of 13,000 ShelterBoxes have now been distributed in Haiti with thousands more to come, making it ShelterBox’s largest deployment since the Indian Ocean Tsunami.
All aid has been delivered by volunteer ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members from across the globe who have carried out extensive training with ShelterBox. More than 30 SRT members have now been deployed in Haiti as well as Santo Domingo and Miami, coordinating logistics for the boxes bound for Haiti.
Partnerships have been forged with organisations on the ground in Haiti including French aid agency ACTED, the French Red Cross, the IOM, local Rotarians, the Dutch military and the US military. These have allowed SRT members to distribute boxes effectively and securely, ensuring aid has been delivered to people most in need.
Across the globe, people have been supporting ShelterBox on unprecedented levels and volunteers at ShelterBox HQ have been packing more boxes, in the shortest space of time, than they ever had before.
The President and Royal Patron of ShelterBox, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, visited the charity’s HQ in Cornwall last month to thank staff and volunteers for their relief efforts in Haiti.
Tom Henderson added: ‘In March, it was a great personal privilege to travel to Haiti and see firsthand the amazing work our teams are doing there.
‘None of this could happen without our friends and supporters. Since the earthquake struck we have witnessed acts of generosity, kindness and compassion on a daily basis. My heartfelt thanks go out to all our supporters for everything they are doing for ShelterBox.’