Press releases

UK charity warns of global shelter crisis 

The number of people left without a safe place to live after disasters strike is growing exponentially and the world is unprepared.

7 June 2024

A woman wearing a headscarf and a young girl stand infront of a large area of flooded land

Press release – 7 June

The number of people left without a safe place to live after disasters strike is growing exponentially and the world is unprepared. The stark warning from the UK charity ShelterBox comes as experts predict this year’s hurricane season will be the most active on record.  

The disaster relief organisation has today highlighted how almost 1 in 6 people could be uprooted from their homes worldwide because of disaster and conflict in the next 25 years. What’s worse is that some communities are hit repeatedly, leaving people with barely enough time to recover from one crisis before the next one arrives.

ShelterBox has supported almost three million people in around 100 countries – responding in over half of those places more than once. In the case of the Philippines more than 30 times, Pakistan 10 times, Indonesia 10 times, and Uganda seven times. 

The charity is warning that inaction by people in power creates a recipe for disaster long before a storm forms or rivers burst their banks. It’s launched a new campaign Rethink Disasters, urging for world leaders to focus on prevention. 

ShelterBox CEO, Sanj Srikanthan says: “Repeatedly responding with emergency shelter to the same countries isn’t a sign of resilience. It’s a symptom of systemic failure to compensate recovering nations and prevent crises from happening in the first place. 

“People are too often left in crisis and without anywhere to live after storms, earthquakes, or flooding, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Disasters keep following these events because of decisions by those in power not to invest or plan ahead. It leaves whole communities from recovering nations in crisis for longer – struggling to move on from one disaster before the next one hits.” 

Updated analysis from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) shows that 1.2 billion people could be displaced by 2050, with the poorest and most climate-vulnerable areas most affected. Rapid population growth will be compounded by climate change, with more people having to move to find food and water. With this mass displacement of people comes an increased risk of conflict. 

ShelterBox warns that it will need to respond to more and more crises unless greater focus is placed by world leaders on preventative measures. The charity will continue to respond to emergencies, and increasingly look to strengthen the resilience of the communities with which it works but says it cannot be everywhere. 

“Ideally there wouldn’t be a need for ShelterBox and the work we do,” adds Srikanthan, “but displacement around the world has never been higher and we’re having to change the way we work to reach more people and focus on shelters that are more robust.” 

From its original ‘tents in a green box’, ShelterBox has adapted its range of emergency shelter options to meet new challenges. For example, building concrete bases in places that repeatedly flood like in Pakistan and Syria; providing hurricane strapping to make timber shelters more robust in the Philippines, using iron frames and fireproof insulation for shelters in Yemen, and in Burkina Faso, wooden frame Sahelian tents to withstand local climates. 

Today, ShelterBox is sending a clear message: nobody should lose their home because world leaders failed to plan, prepare, and fund work to limit the impact. But action is needed now. 




For more information contact the press office at ShelterBox via [email protected].    

Notes to Editors    

  • Interviews available with: 
  • ShelterBox CEO Sanj Srikanthan. A globally recognised leader on humanitarian issues   and disaster response. He previously worked for the International Rescue Committee for nearly 10 years and aided various emergency situations including Haiti earthquakes and complicated conflicts such as northern Syria.  
  • Rachel Harvey, Emergency Preparedness Lead at ShelterBox. Rachel has more than 30 years combined experience in the aid delivery and global media sectors. Formerly an international correspondent and news editor for the BBC, most recently she has deployed to Ukraine and Moldova leading the charity’s response to the war in Ukraine. 
  • Alice Jefferson, Head of Emergency Responses at ShelterBox.  Alice has deployed for ShelterBox around the world and deployed to Ukraine in 2022 and following the earthquake in Morocco in 2023. Alice has worked in the sector for over 12 years. 
  • B-roll, campaign video, images, and more case-studies (written, images, and footage) available. 
  • Case study with photos: Jimcale, Somalia. 
  • At the age of 73, Jimcale has been displaced from his home in Somalia following the worst drought in East Africa for four decades.  He says: “In my many years on this earth, I have seen changes in the climate. The rain is sometimes too much, sometimes not enough. Crops have become unpredictable, leading to empty stomachs sometimes. The change in the climate completely turned our world upside down and forced me and my family to leave behind the life we knew. We became displaced, chasing safety from the chaos it brought and now in my old age I am left to find my stability again.” 
  • To find out more about how ShelterBox is rethinking disasters and how to support, visit //
  • ShelterBox has supported almost 3 million people in around 100 countries since 2000. More than half of those places more than once. ShelterBox has responded in the Philippines more than 30 times, Pakistan 10 times, Indonesia 10 times, and Uganda 7 times. It’s also responded six times to the Niger, Somalia, Kenya, Haiti, and Afghanistan. And five times to Nepal, Bangladesh, the Sudan, Madagascar, Paraguay, Colombia, DPRK, Mexico, and the USA. 
  • The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) is a global think tank headquartered in Sydney, Australia with branches in New York City, Mexico City and Oxford. It uses research to show that peace is a positive, achievable measure of well-being and development and publishes an annual Ecological Threat Report.  
  • The current world population is 7.9 billion people. 1.2 billion people are predicted to be at risk of displacement by 2050. That’s 15.2% of the population, which is 1 in 6.7 people. That’s why we’re saying almost 1 in 6 people. 
  • At ShelterBox we don’t refer to disasters as natural. This is because disasters come after storms, flooding, earthquakes and other events depending on the impact on people or the environment. 
  • The number of people displaced within their own countries worldwide hit 75.9 million at the end of 2023, compared to 71.1 million at the end of 2022. It’s the highest recorded by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre which issues the annual GRID report. In the last five years the number of people forced to flee their homes and seek safety within their countries has increased by 51%.