Global disaster relief organization ShelterBox USA, based in Santa Barbara, has launched a Stock the Box campaign to ensure its warehouses are stocked and ready to provide lifesaving aid in anticipation of climate change-strengthened storms.
ShelterBox, with five strategically located warehouses of pre-positioned aid around the world, has responded to more than 60 weather-driven disasters.
It provides emergency shelter and other essential items like solar lanterns, water carriers and filters, thermal blankets and tools to people who have lost their homes, including those in the path of hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons — helping them begin rebuilding their lives.
Climate change is making those storms stronger, causing more damage and displacing more people. On average over the last five years, more than 11.2 million people have been displaced annually by storms per year, according to figures by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, (iDMC).
“Climate change is making life-threatening storms even more dangerous, and we need to be prepared,” said Kerri Murray, president of ShelterBox USA. “Stock the Box helps us replenish our supplies prepositioned around the world so we can respond when disaster strikes. The next disaster is not a matter of if, but when.”
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report warned that the most vulnerable are disproportionately affected by human-caused climate change, with extreme weather events frequently hitting places where many live in poverty.
If the 11.2 million average is sustained over the next 20 years, almost 45 million homes could be damaged or destroyed, uprooting at least 224 million people, according to ShelterBox’s analysis.
This year’s campaign comes as the Atlantic hurricane season is forecast to be above average for the seventh consecutive year. ShelterBox also recently deployed an assessment team to Bangladesh after of some of the worst flooding to ever hit the region displaced more than 9 million people.
“ShelterBox is seeing how climate change is affecting the most vulnerable populations in the world,” said Murray. “We’ve supported more than 400,000 people impacted by storm-related disasters in the last decade, and we fear that unless more action is taken, this trend will continue to accelerate.”
In the Stock the Box campaign, supporters can ensure ShelterBox is ready. By prepositioning aid around the world in five strategically located warehouses, ShelterBox can quickly to help families affected by disasters and prolonged conflicts including the crisis in Ukraine, the earthquake in Haiti, and Super Typhoon Rai in the Philippines.
For $1,000, for example, a supporter can donate an entire ShelterBox, which includes everything a family would need after it loses everything in an instant. Or they can donate a family tent ($500), cooking set ($250), mosquito net ($40), or solar light ($30).
Because of its well-stocked warehouse and staff in the Philippines, ShelterBox was one of the first to respond to Typhoon Rai last December, which damaged or destroyed 1.7 million homes. ShelterBox provided shelter aid to 100,000 people.
Murray saw first-hand the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, the strongest storm ever recorded to make landfall in the world. She said items like tarpaulins and other shelter tools are critical in the aftermath of severe weather events.
“Our emergency shelter aid makes a tangible difference to people who have had their homes damaged or destroyed by these climate-driven storms,” Murray said.
ShelterBox currently has teams working to support communities in Ukraine, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Syria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti and Nigeria.
For more, visit www.ShelterBoxUSA.org/StocktheBox.