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Only 1 in 5 Families Receive Shelter After Disaster

31 October 2018

ShelterBox reveals significant funding gap

Disaster relief charity ShelterBox has published research showing that, for every family receiving vital emergency shelter aid (1.2 million families), there are four other families around the world who received no help at all (6.7 million families). These are people left in desperate need after losing everything to conflict or natural disaster,

ShelterBox wanted to calculate the gap between the cost of helping all these families in need, and the amount of money available from UN appeals. The charity collected data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Financial Tracking Services, and the International Office for Migration (IOM).

The report, called ‘Recovery starts with shelter’, shows that in the last five years, shelter provision has been consistently underfunded, with all appeals in the study raising less than half of their target funding. It found that $1.5 billion could have provided emergency shelter and other essential non-food items to everyone in the world made homeless through conflict and natural disaster in 2017 (33 million people).

Chris Warham, Chief Executive of ShelterBox said: “These numbers are shocking and unacceptable. Shelter is a basic human right. It is essential for survival and without it, the long process of recovering from such huge trauma cannot start. We must do more to help families recover from the worst days of their lives.”

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Key findings, based on 2017 statistics, include:

• There are 33 million people (or 6.7 million families) around the world needing emergency shelter and other essential items to help them survive.

• Only one in five families (6.5 million people [19%] or 1.2 million families [18%]) received the help they needed. So, for every family that receives shelter, there are four other families who receive nothing.

• Over three quarters (81%) of ordinary families (26.5 million people) in desperate need of help after significant trauma, do not receive emergency shelter aid.

• $1.1 billion could have given emergency shelter to everyone who needed it.

• Of all the countries included in the appeals, the Democratic Republic of Congo received the least amount of funding, reaching only 4% of their target funding for shelter

• Over half (56%) of the countries impacted by humanitarian and climate disasters were already ranked low on the Human Development Index (a measure that includes education, health, living standards and life expectancy).

ShelterBox is an emergency shelter specialist, providing practical help to families in some of the world’s most devastated disaster zones. The charity works to understand the needs of families affected by all sorts of different and complex emergency situations – both in conflict and in natural disaster - and provides a flexible range of aid that includes tools, tents, tarpaulins, blankets, solar lights, cooking sets and other equipment for families to make urgent shelter or repair buildings where there is no other possible provision.

The charity’s theory of change shows the vital importance that shelter can make to survival. It shows that shelter:

• Protects against the elements like hot sun, bitter cold, or torrential rain.

• Protects from infectious disease and dangerous animals.

• Keeps families and communities together so they can support each other.

• Increases personal safety and security.

• Reduces stress and anxiety.

• Provides privacy and dignity.

• Gives families a place to live and structure to rebuild their lives.

The report can be downloaded from the charity’s website:


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