ShelterBox is Cornwall’s global disaster relief charity which has helped 2 million people in 98 countries

The Cornwall-based disaster relief charity says climate change is driving an “unprecedented” need for shelter across the world.

Truro-based ShelterBox helps provide emergency shelter to vulnerable people around the world.

In the 22 years since the charity was founded in Helston, she has witnessed the “ever-increasing” consequences of climate change.

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A ShelterBox spokesperson said: “Climate change is a humanitarian crisis. We see this when we work with communities that have lost homes, livelihoods or loved ones to tropical storms, floods and drought.

“Changing weather patterns are also affecting food production and making some disasters more extreme. As a result, vital infrastructure is threatened, such as water resources, energy, transport, agriculture and health, as well as local ecosystems and wildlife.

“This is creating an unprecedented need for emergency shelters around the world.”

In the most recent example of a natural hazard, the tsnami in Tonga on January 14, 2022, ShelterBox “monitored the situation closely”. The charity’s Australia branch has worked with other agencies to ensure that necessary emergency shelter and lifesaving items are provided.

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ShelterBox data predicts that extreme weather will destroy 167 million homes worldwide by 2040. That’s six times the total number of homes in the UK.

When disasters or conflict strike, ShelterBox provides vulnerable people with the tools and training needed to rebuild their homes and their lives. While providing tents, tarpaulins and tools is central to the charity’s disaster response, it also offers other relief items that help turn shelter into a home.

ShelterBox Operations Philippines distributed emergency shelter to families whose homes were destroyed by Typhoon Rai in December 2021

A typical ShelterBox normally contains tools, shelter, pots and pans, a solar lamp, blankets and a water purification unit which is now capable of purifying 200,000 liters of even muddy or brackish water.

ShelterBox’s latest response came in the Philippines after Typhoon Rai, which swept through the country in December, destroying an estimated 800,000 homes. The Philippines is just one of the countries where ShelterBox says it has seen an increase in the strength, frequency and duration of storms, presumably due to warming oceans.

The Philippines was the most frequent recipient of ShelterBox assistance with an average of two responses per year. The country recovers from previous hazards when another strikes.

As a result, ShelterBox has opened a base in the country to help ensure responses can be as quick as possible and navigate poor infrastructure, power, fuel and vehicle shortages that challenge relief responses. emergency.

ShelterBox Operations Philippines distributed emergency shelter to families whose homes were destroyed by Typhoon Rai in December 2021

Many people affected by the typhoon were expected to already be living below the poverty line.

A spokesperson said: “Our changing climate is making life more difficult in many parts of the world and problems continue to arise for the people who play the smallest part in creating them. Vulnerable families are on the front lines of the climate crisis, forced to leave their homes to survive, either because of these disasters, or to find water for food, or to earn a living.

To raise both awareness and donations, a group of 30 renowned global authors worked with ShelterBox to produce a book titled Tamesis Street, featuring a story about climate change set in a futuristic London of 2050. The book is part of the ShelterBox Book Club, where you can subscribe for £10 a month to receive a book on housing topics every six weeks with access to online discussions.

ShelterBox helped Indonesian communities after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004
ShelterBox helped Indonesian communities after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004

ShelterBox Managing Director Sanj Srikanthan said, “ShelterBox has helped over two million people from 98 countries around the world with emergency shelter or essential items like solar lamps and water filters since the creation of the association at the beginning of the century.

“This has been possible thanks to an incredible family of supporters around the world, starting here in the Duchy, who help our charity reach as many people as possible with life-changing help.

“In addition to helping people who have had to flee their homes due to conflict, we are also providing shelter to people living on the frontlines of climate change. When homes are destroyed by earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and other disasters, we step in to shelter those who need it most.

“More recently, we are responding to the Philippines after a super typhoon devastated people’s homes and businesses. Over 800,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. We have a ShelterBox team on the ground distributing emergency aid and thanks to the people who support our Call of Typhoon Raiwe hope to help even more families live with dignity after the disaster.