Octogenarian jumping from 15,000 feet for birthday fundraiser
David Earl is celebrating his 80th birthday by jumping out of an aeroplane to raise money for ShelterBox
The international disaster relief charity ShelterBox is working in Moldova as it responds to the growing crisis in Ukraine. The Cornwall-based charity is working to support people displaced or stranded in Ukraine as well as those who have fled across its borders.
As the number of people who’ve left or lost their homes nears 10 million, ShelterBox continues to work closely with other organisations to ensure they get the right kind of assistance in the right place, at the right time, to the people who need it most.
ShelterBox is providing thousands of mattresses to collective centres like schools and churches in Lviv, with its partner People in Need. They will help people fleeing their homes in the bitter cold to stay warm and get some sleep at night.
Deputy Director of International Programmes for ShelterBox, Chloe Day says: “The need for emergency shelter is desperate and growing every day, with almost a quarter of Ukraine’s population having left their homes to seek safety.
“Millions of people have been displaced internally and more than 4 million people have crossed Ukraine’s long border becoming refugees in neighbouring countries.
“As the situation further deteriorates, countless others are stranded in areas they are unable to leave. The challenge humanitarian organisations face getting aid to them is vast in such a fast-evolving crisis.
“The humanitarian response must be carefully coordinated to make sure the people most in need get the right type of aid to help them survive and stay safe.”
Many people who have remained in Ukraine, or are stranded there, are living in buildings damaged by the conflict. ShelterBox is working to get aid across the border, including shelter kits with tools and rope, high thermal blankets, solar lights, buckets and water carriers to help people survive. Hygiene kits, including items like soap, washing powder and toothpaste, are also likely to form part of the aid package.
Although every crisis is unique, ShelterBox is drawing on its experience gained from ongoing responses to other conflicts to inform and strengthen its work.
Martin Strutton, who has been in eastern Europe with ShelterBox since the beginning of March, says: “The situation is complex and constantly changing so to be effective, aid delivery must be well co-ordinated.
“Our team has moved from Poland to Moldova as we take the necessary time to understand where and how we can support people as well as working with others as part of the wider humanitarian response.
“We are drawing on our significant experience of working in conflict areas around the world, including cross-border working with partners in Syria over the last 10 years.”
As the conflict continues to worsen the needs of people reaching the borders are expected to increase. Resources of some countries are already overstretched as more and more people seek safety and refuge.
As well as supporting people in Ukraine, ShelterBox is looking at which bordering countries require most support for their humanitarian response. It will support refugees with items they can carry with them.
The team from ShelterBox has been visiting collective centres as well as conducting needs assessments at a reception centre in Moldova not far from the border with Ukraine, where many refugees have been arriving. For most people, it’s a welcome chance to get something hot to eat, rest, access advice and medical support, and get transport as they make choices about where to go next.
Martin added: “We’re now in Moldova preparing the next phase of our response – helping people in Ukraine who are sheltering in damaged homes, and people who have crossed the border, becoming refugees. The need is huge and we’re expecting it to continue for some time.
“We’ve seen a steady flow of people arrive in Moldova in the short time we’ve been here – tired, hungry families facing difficult choices as to where to go next in their onward journey.”
This is an important step as the charity decides how it can best support refugees in the coming weeks and where ShelterBox is best placed to provide essential items that people can carry with them.
ShelterBox is working with local agencies, the UN, other international aid organisations and Rotary to ensure that, together, they avoid duplicating efforts or leaving gaps, so that as many people as possible can receive the support that they need.
As well as ShelterBox’s response to the crisis in Ukraine, the charity is also working in the Philippines, Yemen, Syria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Haiti.
For more information about ShelterBox’s Ukraine fundraising appeal visit shelterbox.org. Any additional money raised will help ShelterBox provide emergency shelter to families affected by disaster around the world.
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