Chief exec's sleep out to highlight climate driven displacement

CEO will be joined by Rotary International President Elect

29 July 2022

Press release - 29 July 2022

The head of ShelterBox will be sleeping in a tent overnight at the Border Union Show to help shine a light on how changing climate is driving displacement around the world.

Sanj Srikanthan, Chief Executive at ShelterBox, will be camping in one of his charity’s aid tents on Friday 29 July. Joining him is the incoming Rotary International president, Gordon McInally, a significant pairing given the special humanitarian alliance the two organisations have had since the charity was formed in 2000.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential items to people across the globe who have lost their homes to conflict and disaster. It is currently helping people affected by the war in Ukraine, the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and provided aid to 100,000 people in the Philippines earlier this year after Typhoon Rai swept across the country just before Christmas.

ShelterBox Chief Executive, Sanj Srikanthan says: “The changing climate is making weather events more severe and that in turn will make the planet more unpredictable as people vie for natural resources and flee across borders.

“We are already seeing this in countries where ShelterBox is responding – in the Sahel, Yemen, and Mozambique, where people are having to leave loved ones, homes, and livelihoods behind.

“While we cannot solve conflicts or work on climate change reduction by ourselves, we can raise the voices of those affected by it. We can also work more smartly, reducing the use of plastics in our kits and lowering our carbon emissions – while reaching more people with our aid more quickly by pre-positioning aid where we know it will be needed and having import arrangements in place.”

ShelterBox research highlights how 167 million homes could be lost to climate change in the next 20 years. Flooding will be a leading cause of weather-related disaster, warming oceans will bring heavier rain to places that can’t cope with it, and other parts of the world will face ever more deadly droughts like the one East Africa is currently confronting.

Rotary International President Elect, Gordon McInally says: “Rotary is delighted to join with our partners at ShelterBox in raising awareness about the increasingly devastating effects of climate change worldwide.

“Environmental disasters are a rising threat to world peace. With this sleep out we’re keen to highlight the increasing numbers of displaced people across the world and signify how by working together we can make a difference to people who have had their lives abruptly disrupted.” 

Rotarians Doug Forsyth and John Lafferty from Rotary Borderlands will also take part in the sleep out, utilising some of the charity’s aid items which will be on display for members of the public to see during the Border Union Show.

To better meet the needs of the people who need support, ShelterBox is continuously evolving to find durable solutions. It no longer provides aid only in boxes, instead providing combinations of aid, packaged in a variety of ways to make a tangible difference.

A tarpaulin is the difference between a family staying dry in their makeshift home or not. Solar lights help families spend time together when electricity supply is impacted. A mosquito net helps families worry less about their children’s health in areas known to have malaria or dengue fever. And cash assistance, like that used in Ukraine, the Philippines and following the earthquake that hit Haiti last August, empowers local communities to hire skilled labour or buy the materials they need to rebuild their houses.

ShelterBox became Rotary’s formal project partner in disaster relief in 2012, which has recently been renewed for a further three years to help support more people, in more places, in more ways.

The charity is currently working to support people in Ukraine, the Philippines, Yemen, Syria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Haiti. It has also just sent an assessment team to Bangladesh following some of the worst flash flooding to hit the country.

ShelterBox has helped more than two million people across 98 countries and relies heavily on public donations to fund its responses across the world.

  • £350 can fund a durable tent that provides shelter for families and helps them feel safe and protected.
  • £60 can fund a shelter kit that provides the essentials families need to start rebuilding homes straight away.
  • £11 can fund a solar light that can be used by families for work, education, or simply moving around at night.
  • £7 can fund a blanket that provides vital warmth, but comfort too when families are recovering from disaster.

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