Sunday, 17 January 2010
There is very little more that can be said about the awful situation in Haiti, but to encourage anyone who is thinking of donating to please do so (The Disasters and Emergency Committee is a good place to start, they are an umbrella organisation for 13 of the best known and most able humanitarian agencies from the UK).
If you want to donate for something more specific then please consider contributing towards a shelter box at the Bloggers for Haiti Just Giving Page. Even just a small amounts helps, for added together it all quickly adds up. Set up only yesterday this page has already raised enough for over 3 shelter boxes (at £490 each).
At the heart of every ShelterBox is a ten-person tent. It is custom made for ShelterBox by Vango, one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers, and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall. Internally, each tent has privacy partitions that allow recipients to divide the space as they see fit.
Every box contains a children’s pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. For children who have lostmost, if not all,their possessions, these small gifts are treasured.
Warmth and protection
In addition to the tent, the boxes contain a range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall. Where malaria is prevalent mosquito nets are supplied, as well a life saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed, this presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.
A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters can be found in every box. These items enable people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.
Fit for purpose
Every item is durable, practical and brand new. The box itself is lightweight and waterproof and has been used for a variety of purposes in the past - from water and food storage containers to a cot for a newly born baby.
A heart to the home
A key piece in every box is either a wood burning or multi-fuel stove - that can burn anything from diesel to old paint. This provides the heart of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition, there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers.
We keep a broad range of equipment in stock so we can adapt the contents of a box to a specific disaster. For example, following the Javanese earthquake in 2006, when some resources were available locally or could be salvaged fromone storey buildings, the overwhelming need was for shelter – so we just sent tents, packing two in each box.
Posted by Dorset Dispatches at 21:58