By providing emergency shelter and tools for families robbed of their homes by disaster or conflict, ShelterBox is transforming despair into hope. In 2017, we have seen unprecedented disasters. From the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean, ShelterBox’s Response Team has been on the ground during these disasters and many others, hand-delivering emergency humanitarian aid to people in need. This site provides an overview of ShelterBox’s past and ongoing disaster relief work in 2017.

By the end of 2017, ShelterBox will have helped 32,000 households or 160,000 people who have lost everything through conflict or natural disaster. We have responded to world events 24 times this year and deployed aid to 21 different countries. Rotary groups around the world have helped us provide vulnerable people with emergency shelter and aid in almost all of the countries we have worked in affected by natural disaster.

In 2017, we also surpassed the highest number of days ever deployed in one year. This includes 84 ShelterBox Response Team volunteers who deployed for a total of 1,530 days. That’s an average volunteer deployment of 18 days each.


While hurricanes were striking the Atlantic, southeast Asia was plagued by severe flooding during the monsoon season. At the height of the flooding, more than a third of the land in Bangladesh was submerged. More than 70,000 homes have been completely destroyed and 500,000 are partially damaged, forcing 8 million people from their homes. The same extreme weather phenomenon also affected large areas of India, Nepal and Myanmar.

From where they were responding to flooding in Northern Bangladesh, a ShelterBox team was dispatched to Cox's Bazar in the south, where since August, thousands of Rohingya Muslims crossed the border into Bangladesh to escape sectarian violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Over 625,000 people have entered Bangladesh since August, making this the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world.

ShelterBox is one of very few humanitarian actors responding to the massive displacement of families in Northwest Bangladesh where more than 500,000 homes have been damaged by flooding. A ShelterBox Response Team has been focusing on the flood affected area of Kurigram. In total, 2,960 households have received shelter in the form of 1,000 ShelterKits, 6,000 blankets, 2,000 tarpaulins, 2,000 mosquito nets, and 2,000 solar lights.

At the same time, recent violence in Rakhine State in Myanmar prompted a rapid exodus of ethnic Rohingya across the border into Southeast Bangladesh. It’s estimated that more than 600,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh since August 2017. ShelterBox is providing emergency shelter and other essential items as quickly as possible to Rohingya communities arriving in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh. ShelterBox is partnering with International Organization for Migration (IOM) to import and distribute 8,000 solar lights, 8,000 Jerrycans, 8,000 blankets, 8,000 tarpaulins, and 8,000 lengths of rope, all of which will support 4,000 households in Cox’s Bazar District.


In early September, Hurricane Irma became the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, with wind speeds of up to 300 kph. Quickly followed by Maria, these back to back hurricanes pummeled the Caribbean and left widespread devastation in their wake.

Some islands – like Barbuda – were evacuated entirely. Others braced themselves for the onslaught. The arrival of Hurricane Maria made this one of the most ferocious hurricane seasons ever recorded.

We have a variety of aid in the Caribbean, so we can tailor our response to best support different communities. On some islands, like Dominica and the Dominican Republic, there are natural resources available to quickly rebuild homes with the help of a ShelterKit.

Elsewhere, like on Barbuda, our tents will be the best option – creating a warm, safe home while the long clean-up process takes place.

ShelterBox Response Teams are continuing to deliver aid to the most vulnerable and remote communities devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean. Relief efforts have been focused on Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, and St. Kitts. A variety of aid is being provided across the Caribbean: 250 ShelterKits, 2,300 solar lights, and 1,500 tarpaulins have been distributed in Dominica; 600 ShelterKits have been distributed to households in the Dominican Republic; in Barbuda, 1,500 solar lights, 550 water carriers, 125 tents, and 150 water purification units have been received by households; 22 ShelterBoxes and 22 tents have been distributed in the British Virgin Islands; and in St. Kitts, 200 families have received tarpaulins to help shore up damaged structures or construct temporary shelters.


Since the 2011 protests in Syria escalated into civil war, the conflict has led to the displacement of 13 million people, many of them vulnerable women and children. In a protracted crisis such as that in Syria and Iraq there is a well-established humanitarian architecture in place to support people affected by the disaster.

As in responses to natural disaster, ShelterBox has continued to focus on providing emergency shelter. The organization has positioned itself to offer surge capacity in times of massive displacement, such as the Aleppo Emergency in February 2016, when 75,000 people were displaced in a matter of weeks.

To help bring protection and comfort to those who have been forced to flee, or to those whose homes have been badly damaged by the ongoing violence, ShelterBox has dispatched tents, ShelterKits and other essential items like blankets, groundsheets, cooking equipment, and solar lights. In 2017, we sheltered over 12,000 Syrian families.

24% of all households helped by ShelterBox since the start of 2015 have been those displaced by the conflict in Syria and Iraq

As is the case in any disaster, many people without shelter will inevitably be children. Many schools have been destroyed in Syria and children eager to learn often lack the supplies they need. To help bring refugee children back into the classroom, ShelterBox delivered 53 SchoolBoxes. Each box contained essential supplies for teachers, including blackboard paint and chalk, and activity packs for 50 children.


Throughout March, all but one of Peru’s 25 regions were hit by sudden flooding that overwhelmed defences and gutted whole villages. Intense rains caused widespread flooding and landslides, leaving 94 dead and around 1.2 million exposed to the elements. Thousands of families were left without even basic shelter, losing their homes and their livelihoods.

Rotary and Rotaract in Peru reported widespread destruction. A ShelterBox Response Team worked with local authorities and Rotary to assess the damage and distribute aid to families in the northwest region of the country.

While some houses are full of thick mud, many houses built from less substantial materials were simply destroyed. ShelterBox provided ShelterKits (pictured) with tarpaulins and tools, as well as boxes containing mosquito nets, water carriers, LuminAID solar lights and water purifiers, all packed by volunteers.

"I believe miracles are extraordinary things that ordinary people do." - Lourdes, Peru

Working in partnership with Rotary and World Vision, ShelterBox delivered vital aid to over 2,000 of the most vulnerable families. Unsupported, households affected by disaster will attempt to self-recover. Due to a lack of resources or other vulnerabilities such as poor health, some families will not have the capacity to self-recover and therefore need assistance from organisations like ShelterBox. The aid and training ShelterBox offers provides relief and supports recovery.

ShelterBox distributed 1,000 ShelterKits and non-food items (NFI’s) to households who suffered partial damage to their homes in municipalities around Trujillo, in the district of La Libertad. A further 3,030 solar lights and 2,061 mosquito nets were provided to households residing in a displacement camp on the outskirts of Piura city.


The city of Mosul, Iraq has been retaken after three years in the grip of Islamic State. While forces have celebrated the fall of this Islamic State stronghold, for many regular people the nightmare continues. Years of tyrannical rule have left communities in tatters, while missiles and mortars have left the city in ruins. Families have lost sons, fathers, brothers and husbands, while homes have been destroyed.

Through the scorching heat of summer and the desolate winter, ShelterBox is working to provide shelter in Iraq. We have the materials to create shade from the sun and shelter from the wind, along with blankets and groundsheets to make the long, cold nights comfortable.

In October 2016, the Iraqi federal government launched an offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS). The violence led to the mass displacement of more than 500,000 vulnerable people from Mosul. In 2017, ShelterBox worked with its trusted distribution partner, ACTED, to distribute 2,000 customized ShelterKits to rapidly support displaced families or host families affected by conflict: 1,000 Mobile ShelterKits were designed and distributed to provide tools and basic necessities that could be easily carried if needed in the threat of violence, and 1,000 Sealing-Off Kits contained the basic tools needed to help repair damaged homes and dwellings. In 2017, ShelterBox has provided assistance to over 3,500 households in Iraq by providing a range of aid that included tents blankets, groundsheets, water carriers, solar lights, and more, in addition to the 2,000 customized ShelterKits.


Violent conflict, caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria, has been raging since 2009. The violence has since spread to the neighboring border regions of Cameroon, Niger and Chad, directly affecting around 17 million people.

ShelterBox has been working in the region since 2009, providing shelter and essential aid items to families in Niger and Cameroon. This year, we have also started to support families in Chad too.

We’re working hard with partners across this region, delivering SchoolBoxes, tents, tarpaulins, tools, solar lights and equipment as well as hygiene kits to people living in violent, inhumane and unhealthy conditions.

Millions have been forced to flee their homes and often their own countries because of violence caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria. The Lake Chad region has also been besieged by food insecurity and flooding. Many people have been forced to flee their homes and often their own countries. ShelterBox has been working in the region since 2009, providing shelter and essential aid items to families in Cameroon and Niger. In 2017, for the first time ever, aid has also been provided to vulnerable people in Chad, a very challenging country for humanitarian aid agencies to provide aid to due to security constraints.

In Cameroon, 2,640 hygiene kits, 100 SchoolBoxes, as well as Jerry cans, solar lights, groundsheets, blankets, and kitchen sets have been provided to support more than 750 households. In Nigeria, 896 households received heavy duty tarpaulins to create and reinforce shelters. In Chad, more than 450 families have been helped through the provision of aid that includes 3,500 blankets, 1,500 groundsheets, 500 kitchen sets, 1,000 solar lights, 2,000 Jerry cans, and 1,500 mosquito nets.


Severe drought in Somaliland has affected an estimated 766,000 people since November 2016.

As the drought continues, ShelterBox is working closely with ActionAid to ensure that families have safe shelter throughout Somaliland. We have supported around 500 families with ShelterKits, including tarps, water filters and kitchen sets.

A team has recently returned after meeting families to see how their lives have started to improve since receiving ShelterBox support. Once our evaluations are complete a second and larger shipment of aid will take place.

"We used to have so many goats, but they have almost all died and there is no more pasture for those that are left."

Extreme drought in Somaliland has brought more than one and a half million people to the brink of famine. Half of Somaliland’s population of 3 million are nomads who depend on livestock for food and income. Due to the drought, more than 70 percent of livestock are estimated to have died, leading to high levels of displacement as families search for food and water. Complicating matters further, Somaliland is a self-declared state and is not recognized as an independent nation, leading to considerable challenges in accessing aid. Day-to-day survival needs are overwhelming, with few aid organizations focused on shelter needs.

Working with its in-country distribution partner Action Aid, ShelterBox distributed 441 ShelterBoxes to families across three regions in Somaliland in 2017. These ShelterBoxes were adapted to meet the specific needs of nomadic communities. For example, the standard family relief tent was replaced with two tarpaulins to waterproof existing shelters.


Countries in green indicate past ShelterBox deployments. Countries in gold were served in 2017.

Full list of countries/territories ShelterBox deployed to in 2017: Afghanistan – flooding and conflict // Antigua and Barbuda – hurricane // Bangladesh – flooding and conflict // British Virgin Islands – hurricane // Cameroon – conflict // Chad – conflict // Colombia – flooding // Dominica – hurricane // Dominican Republic - hurricane // Haiti – hurricane // Iraq – conflict // Madagascar – tropical cyclone // Mozambique – tropical cyclone // Niger – conflict and flooding // Paraguay – flooding // Peru – flooding // Somaliland – drought // St Kitts and Nevis – hurricane // Syrian region – conflict // USA – hurricane


Our dedicated staff, supporters, volunteers, and partners help us go further – faster. Without you, our work would not be possible. Our partners enable us to go the extra mile and reach more people that desperately need our support. Our volunteers provide the critical link between people who need support and those who want to give it. Our highly trained ShelterBox Response Teams then go the extra mile to find the people left most vulnerable after a disaster – to make sure that no one gets forgotten or left behind. And our donors provide the funds that fuel our efforts worldwide.

ShelterBox staff and volunteers from around the globe (right) and a ShelterBox Response Team member Richard Loat on deployment (left).

Together, we are fueled by an impatience to reach more people, to empower them to transform their lives, to build a world where no family is left without shelter.

ShelterBox is a project partner of Rotary International, a global community of 1.2 million neighbors, friends and community leaders. By working together with Rotary, we are able to collaborate and combine resources to ensure that we can support more communities in desperate need of shelter.


This past year has been punctuated by the extraordinary need for the work of ShelterBox. With 85 million people around the world now displaced because of natural disaster or conflict, there are more people displaced globally than at any other time in recorded history. With no end of disaster or conflict in sight, ShelterBox continues to work tirelessly to provide vulnerable people with the emergency shelter and supplies needed to bring shelter, warmth, and dignity. Your support has made a vast difference in the lives of families who lack the basic resources they need to begin to rebuild their lives and communities. ShelterBox is grateful for your generous past support that has helped further its mission to realize a world where no family goes without shelter.

Peru, 2017


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ShelterBox Canada

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