ShelterBox to join Rapid Disaster Response Network
Wednesday, 7 March, 2012
South West charity is one of the ‘very best performing disaster response agencies’
Cornwall-based charity ShelterBox is to join a network of experts who can be called on by Government in times of international crisis, such as famine, floods and earthquakes.
The new facility will mobilise life-saving support from Britain's best businesses and charities in the critical hours after a disaster strikes.
Supplies, experts and vital aid are too often tied up with paperwork, rather than being deployed straight to the disaster zone, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said.
The new facility allows organisations with experience in disaster response to access funding within hours, thereby reaching affected people faster and saving more lives. It will mean the best organisations from across the UK can be mobilised in the critical first 72 hours following a disaster.
ShelterBox is one of an initial 34 non-government organisations which specialise in disaster response which has been invited by the UK Government to join the network.
Helston-based ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world affected by disasters. ShelterBox helped 28,000 vulnerable families made homeless by the Haiti earthquake; provided shelter for 15,000 families and water filtration equipment for 20,000 families affected by the Pakistan floods in 2010; and delivered shelter for more than 8,500 families affected by drought in the Horn of Africa last year.
The new Rapid Response Fund will be activated in the event of a large scale crisis. The selected organisations will be approached within two hours and expected to take immediate action.
Andrew Mitchell said:
“Clearly we need our best experts, equipment and aid on the scene as quickly as possible after a disaster, not tied up in red tape. ShelterBox need to be able to do their job in that vital window of 72 hours, to save as many lives as possible.
“Only the professionals, with relevant skills and equipment will be approved. By working with a small pool of specialists, we will end the dangerous crush of aid organisations which often pour into a disaster zone.”
“These organisations represent the very best performing disaster response agencies. This will allow them to focus on delivery. Make no mistake, however, qualification for the fund will be revoked at the first sign of poor performance.”
John Leach ShelterBox Chief Operating Officer said:
“The Rapid Response Facility allows us to focus on what we do best – delivering emergency shelter and equipment to families in the shortest time possible. It will make a huge difference to the scale at which we can operate immediately after a large humanitarian crisis.”
Lord Ashdown's review of how Britain responds to humanitarian emergencies said that a pre-qualification process would ensure there was a focus on delivery, not bureaucracy, in the first critical stage of disaster response.
Public donations are vital to ShelterBox’s continuing work. To make a donation please ring +44 (0)300 0300 500 or go to www.shelterbox.org to donate online and get the latest updates on our response to disasters around the world.