Canadians from coast to coast to coast have come together in response to the ShelterBox Canada’s appeal for East Africa.
The need for shelter is immense as families have been forced to flee their homes due to the drought, famine and conflict.
Contributions to the ShelterBox Canada East Africa appeal have totalled more than $200,000, which will enable Shelterbox to provide shelter for more than 200 additional families bringing the total to more than 2,000 families in the region.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Canadians who have helped make it possible for ShelterBox to provide aid to families in need” said Lisa Salapatek, executive director of ShelterBox Canada. “The conditions are tough in the refugee camps and the ShelterBox tent can often mean the difference between life and death.”
Dave Hallett, a Canadian member of the ShelterBox response team, was deployed to Ethiopia. He said that “in the new camps being set up to accommodate the influx of refugees, 80 per cent are children and most of the adults are single women.”
He helped to arrange the distribution of ShelterBoxes to “the most vulnerable of a vulnerable population,” including unaccompanied children, the disabled and single mothers.
Among the donors were Rotarians and Rotary Clubs across the country, who have played a key role in fundraising for the relief efforts. A very special donation was the $5,000 contributed by members of the Rotary Club of Slave Lake, Alberta.
Like so many fellow residents, a number of the Slave Lake Rotarians lost their own homes due to the forest fires earlier this year. They certainly appreciate the need for temporary shelter and have reached out to help people half a world away.
While there is still much more for Shelterbox to do to assist the victims of the East Africa Disaster, Shelterbox disaster response team members are on the ground in Thailand and close to 500 Shelterbox tents and supplies have already been committed from a supply depot in nearby Singapore.
As Richard Clarke, Shelterbox Ambassador for North Vancouver Island noted, 2011 has been a terrible year for natural and man-made disasters.
“Shelterbox has provided temporary shelter to some 50,000 people this year. We are totally reliant upon the generosity of others, for which we are most grateful. But to be ready to respond immediately to future disasters we need to replenish our supplies.”
Contributions large or small can be made via www.shelterboxcanada.org.