ShelterBox tackles logistical ‘nightmare’
17 January 2010
International disaster relief charity ShelterBox has now pledged emergency shelter provision for more than 30,000 people with more due to follow but the logistical nightmare in Port au Prince continues.
1,700 ShelterBoxes have already been dispatched and a further 1,600 will leave from the UK this week directly for Port au Prince, Haiti. Warehouse volunteers in the UK have worked tirelessly packing the boxes. 3,300 have already been pledged to Haiti with more to follow. Each box contains a ten-person tent, water storage and purification equipment, a stove, cooking utensils, a children’s pack, basic tool kit and other essential items.
The ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) on the ground is continuing its work with ACTED and local Rotarians in order to ensure the fastest and most effective distribution of aid.
David Eby (US), Wayne Robinson (US) and Mark Pearson (UK), who have been in Port au Prince since Thursday, have commenced training sessions with their contacts on the ground to help them deliver and distribute the ShelterBoxes.
While there has been no confirmation of ShelterBoxes arriving in Port au Prince logistics teams in the UK, the ShelterBox Logistics team in Miami and the SRT in Haiti are doing everything within their power to ensure the boxes reach Haiti as quickly as possible.
ShelterBox Head of Operations John Leach said: ‘The people in Haiti need everything now. We’re doing all we can to land emergency shelter provision in Port au Prince but we’re mindful of not adding to the logistical nightmare on the ground.
‘This is a massive logistical challenge and that is why we have a team in Miami helping coordinate the logistical effort.’
SRT members Mark Dyer, John Lacquey, Steven Tonkinson (all US) and Ian Neal (UK) have met up with ShelterBoxes sent to Miami on Virgin Atlantic flights. Ian Neal will be heading to Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic to run further logistics from there and work with the Response Team in Port-au-Prince.
The UN estimates that 200,000 families, up to one million people, are in need of immediate shelter in Haiti.
ShelterBox Founder and CEO Tom Henderson says: ‘This is as bad as we’ve seen it. There’s never been a bigger need. We’re receiving support and donations from all corners of the globe and from people who come from all walks of life.
‘ShelterBox relies entirely on public donations and people’s generosity. We receive no institutional funding and no DEC money. I’d urge, if you can, to help us.’