Like you, the team here at ShelterBox is concerned about the impact Coronavirus is having on our lives and the world around us.
Current travel restrictions are making our work more challenging, however we are committed to providing vulnerable families with a place to call home throughout this Coronavirus outbreak.
Our partners in Syria, Cameroon, Somaliland and Ethiopia are getting our emergency shelter to people who need it, whilst implementing the social distancing rules.
There is still a massive need for humanitarian support. Coronavirus has made that need even more urgent.
Watch this week's Operations Update on Facebook
Syria - ongoing conflict
With the arrival of COVID-19 in Syria, the need for humanitarian support is greater than ever for families already living in inhumane conditions.
Since December, over 900,000 people have fled the violence in Idlib province. Airstrikes and ground attacks have hounded them into smaller and smaller areas of safety. Even hospitals and displacement camps have been hit.
Together with our trusted partners, ReliefAid, we’re providing families with tarpaulins and rope to reinforce their tents, helping people to keep distance from each other. Mattresses, carpets, thermal blankets and kitchen sets can help to keep families to stay warm and prepare meals – helping them stay as healthy as possible.
We’re also working with Bahar Organization to support families in the north-east with tents and other household items.
PHILIPPINES - TAAL VOLCANO
In January 2020, the Taal Volcano erupted in the Philippines.
Now, more than four months later, many people have not been able to return home. There are still around 2,000 families living with host families.
As concerns around coronavirus grow, these families are living in cramped conditions and are unable to take precautions like social distancing.
Working with YKBI, we are hoping to provide essential items that will allow host families to extend the footprint of their homes, providing more space for social distancing.
VANUATU - CYCLONE HAROLD
On April 6, Cyclone Harold made landfall in Vanuatu as a Category 5 cyclone, bringing devastation to communities in the north.
The provinces of Sanma, Malampa, Torba and Penama are most affected.
It is estimated that up to 90% of buildings and houses in Sanma are either damaged or completely destroyed. 160,000 people are thought to be affected.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, access to the country is extremely difficult right now, but despite the challenges, we are currently working to find local partners who will help us get much-needed aid to families who are the most vulnerable.
TANZANIA - Flooding
Torrential rain has caused flash flooding across the south-east regions of Tanzania.
Thousands of families have seen their homes severely damaged or completely washed away.
People have moved to resettlement camps on higher ground and are in urgent need of emergency shelter.
We are supporting families in Tanzania with shelter kits. They will help people to build sturdy homes so they can start to rebuild their lives and recover from this disaster.
The aid will also help families to following social distancing guidelines and protect themselves from coronavirus if needed.
Somaliland - Drought
Severe drought in Somaliland has affected an estimated 766,000 people since November 2016.
Over the last three years the drought has killed up to 80% of the region’s livestock. This has had a devastating effect for thousands of families who rely on livestock farming, forcing them to flee their homes in search of better grazing land.
Right now, we are working with ActionAid, our partners on the ground, on Project 5. We’re providing tarpaulins, rope, kitchen sets, and other essential aid items to 1,800 internally displaced families living in camps.
Distributions of essential aid should be complete by the end of April.
LAKE CHAD BASIN - THE FORGOTTEN CRISIS
Since 2009, Boko Haram has been waging an insurgency in Northern Nigeria. The violence has since spread to the neighbouring regions of Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Around 10.7 million people in the Lake Chad region are in need of relief assistance. 2.4 million people are estimated to have been displaced and perpetual insecurity continues to drive displacement.
In Nigeria, we have worked our partner ACTED to support internally displaced families.
In Cameroon, we have supported over 7,800 families with tents, shelter kits and other essential aid items. Project 8 is now underway with the support of our partner IEDA Relief.
Due to Coronavirus, we’re working closely with our partners to ensure the safety of affected communities and staff in our work.
ETHIOPIA - CONFLICT AND FLOODING
In Ethiopia, conflict, disease outbreaks, rainfall shortages and flooding, have forced people from their homes.
The UN predicts at least 8 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2020.
With the help of our partner, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), we have supported over 4,500 families in total since late 2018.
Due to the spread of coronavirus, the Ethiopian government has closed its borders, except for the import of essential goods including humanitarian aid.
Our current project will support the coronavirus country response as well as the emergency shelter displacement needs. The aid for this project is in the country right now.
Coronavirus mitigations are put in place for distributions and we are also hoping to add soap and a washbasin to the aid package.
BURKINA FASO - CONFLICT
Burkina Faso is one of the fastest-growing displacement crises in Africa.
Almost 1 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to extremist violence. Efforts by both government forces and local militias to fight it have uprooted even more communities.
Increased violence through 2019 has continued in 2020, and the situation is not getting any better. Some of the families forced to flee are able to stay with relatives or friends, but many more are in crowded camps or buildings such as schools.
The insecurity and instability make it difficult for aid workers to reach some of the people in need, and Coronavirus is making the situation even worse.
Conflict and poverty will significantly worsen the impact of a potential Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
In overcrowded spaces, like urban settlements and camps, shelter is extremely vital. It enables families to apply physical distancing and isolate where necessary.
Despite the many challenges for humanitarian organisations, including travel restrictions, we are working with our new partner HELP to support the most vulnerable communities.
This new project will support families with emergency shelter and household items in three regions in the north. The project will help to decongest camps where people have been living collectively. We’ll be providing tarpaulins, kitchen sets, water carriers, sleeping mats, high thermal blankets, mosquito nets and solar lights.