thursday, july 18:
Wednesday May 22:
Tornados ripped through Oklahoma, USA in May causing inconceivable damage.
Even when developed countries are hit, and there is seemingly overwhelming support for survivors of disasters, there still can be a need for ShelterBox to provide its experience and aid to support those worst affected communities.
tuesday, july 2:
The team has returned home having trained partners in tent distribution and set up; they will continue light distribution in the coming weeks if additional tents are needed for displaced communities. All remaining ShelterBox aid is now prepositioned with a local Rotary club in Oklahoma, enabling ShelterBox to respond quickly to future disasters in USA.
thursday, june 27:
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) continues working in Oklahoma, USA to address shelter needs of communities impacted by last month’s tornadoes.
For the last few weeks, affected families in Bethel Acres and Little Axe have been living in cars, under tarps and in standard tents that are not suitable for extreme weather conditions, especially now the hot summer months have begun.
‘The damage here is incomparable to the major disasters I’ve responded to,’ said SRT member Alan Monroe (US). ‘There are massive piles of debris everywhere; personal items hanging out of trees, twisted mobile homes… people are living in their damaged cars that were tumbled during the tornadoes.’
ShelterBox’s high-quality disaster relief tents are being distributed amongst the communities to provide them with a temporary solution to bridge the gap from now until rebuilding is complete in a few months’ time.
Why is ShelterBox assisting now, several weeks following the disaster, as opposed to in the immediate aftermath? Neighbours, churches and other community groups were addressing the needs of impacted people in the early days of recovery. However, over time some needs have changed and people want to be amongst their own community and near to work, family, and other important social structures. ShelterBox was contacted when it became clear a flexible but safe shelter solution was needed to supplement other efforts.
‘People here cannot, and do not want to, leave as their work is nearby,’ added Alan. ‘In rural USA, the nearest city is no less than an hour away. People don’t want to go to the shelters offered there when they have no running vehicle to travel to work everyday, it would be impossible for them.
‘Staying here not only enables them to continue earning a living but they can also oversee the rebuilding process. They should have the shelter and privacy of living in a tent rather than a half-squashed car until the building is done.’
Even though the SRT members say it is heartbreaking to see the trail of destruction left behind by the tornadoes, how one house is completely destroyed and another hardly touched, they are inspired by how very community-minded everyone is there.
‘There is a sense of resilience here, a sense of hope,’ continued Alan. ‘We are working with community leaders, Rotary and Scouts, who are assisting us with assessing needs and setting up the tents. Everyone is willing to lend a hand to those in need and it’s heartwarming to see.’
ShelterBox has collaborated with Amerijet, DHL and DHL Global Forwarding, which have provided transportation and logistical support for the charity’s response in Oklahoma.
monday, june 24:
After identifying several communities that remain in need of emergency shelter, a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is en route to Moore, Oklahoma, USA to deliver ShelterBox tents to those families in need.
thursday, june 6:
The team has returned home and the deployment is complete.
friday, may 24:
SpareOne and international humanitarian relief charity, ShelterBox have partnered to provide emergency mobile phones immediately to those affected by the Oklahoma tornado.
ShelterBox response team members, Wayne Robinson and Jeff Deatherage have been working in Moore, Okla. to identify the most vulnerable families, as well as unmet needs for shelter and other non-food items.
Witnessing so many people without power, displaced from homes and little possessions left, SpareOne immediately expedited a large number of cell phones, which are being distributed by ShelterBox in partnership with local Rotary clubs, to those in need of a line of communication.
“The SpareOne phones distributed will allow survivors to have quick access to emergency services and keep in touch with their loved ones at a very difficult time in their lives,” said Emily Sperling, ShelterBox USA president.
SpareOne is an emergency mobile phone powered by a single AA battery.
“It provides up to 10 hours of talk time, and in situations of prolonged power outages, is ideal because you simply replace one little battery and are all ‘charged up’ and more importantly, connected,” said Alan Cymberknoh, SpareOne’s project director.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is in Oklahoma, USA, assessing the need for emergency shelter and other lifesaving supplies following a two-mile wide tornado that left a path of destruction through the city’s suburbs.
SRT members Wayne Robinson (US) and Jeff Deatherage (US) were deployed soon after the disaster and have been able to travel quickly to Moore, the most affected area, to carry out assessments of unmet needs among impacted families and communities.
‘Neighbourhoods have been flattened leaving thousands of people displaced,’ said Wayne Robinson (US). ‘We will be arriving late on Tuesday evening but will begin making our assessments at first light on Wednesday.
‘As seen with Hurricane Sandy, these situations often require non-food items like blankets. We were able to assist families living in New York and New Jersey impacted by the storm by providing these items. It may be the same case in Oklahoma.’
The tornado battered Moore for 45 minutes and since has been upgraded to the most powerful level of twister.
As US President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in the city on Tuesday, emergency workers pulled more than 100 survivors from the ruins of homes, schools and a hospital.
‘The people of Moore should know that their country will remain on the ground there for them, beside them as long as it takes for their home and schools to rebuild.’
‘Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this catastrophe,’ said Emily Sperling, ShelterBox USA president. ‘In the following days, our team will be focusing on the most impacted areas to identify unmet shelter and non-food needs.’
Tuesday May 21:
A devastating two-mile wide tornado has torn through Oklahoma City suburbs in USA with winds of up to 200mph (320km/h), destroying neighbourhoods and schools.
ShelterBox Operations department is monitoring the disaster and in contact with one of its affiliates, ShelterBox USA, for the latest updates.
‘We are talking to our affiliate in the United States to get the most recent information on the disaster area,’ said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Alice Jefferson. ‘We are also looking into whether to send a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) to the affected area to carry out a needs assessment. We are seeing which SRT members are available in the country closest to Oklahoma, which would enable a rapid response to support rescue efforts and help families in need.’
Moore in the south of the city is the worst hit where 41,000 people took shelter underground during the storm. News reports show debris everywhere, houses destroyed, upturned vehicles, street signs gone and power shortages.
Emergency crews are searching for people who may still be buried under the rubble. So far almost 100 people have lost their lives and nearly 250 are injured, a quarter being children due to the collapse of several schools.
Shocked survivors are now seen picking through the remains of their homes.
‘There’s shingles and pieces of sheet rock and wood in our yard and all across our neighbourhood,’ Melissa Newton told the BBC. ‘Some homes are completely gone. It’s devastating.’
Ricky Stover is another survivor: ‘We locked the cellar door once we saw it coming, it got louder and next thing you know is you see the latch coming undone. We couldn’t reach for it and it ripped open the door and just glass and debris started slamming on us and we thought we were dead, to be honest.’
All of us at ShelterBox extend our heartfelt thoughts to everyone affected.