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Thursday 13 December 2012

Thailand and Turkey revisited
Thailand and Turkey revisited

This year ShelterBox conducted monitoring and evaluation programs, which involved returning to countries where ShelterBox had deployed aid in response to major disasters.

Each program collected information to assess effectiveness and improve ShelterBox's speed of delivery and overall standard of response in the future. Teams returned to Thailand and Turkey, countries affected by flooding and earthquakes, to speak to beneficiaries, interview in-country partners and assess the condition of the tents in the disaster-hit areas.

Flooding in Thailand

Last February, five months after serious floods hit Thailand, ShelterBox’s operations coordinator, Alison Ashlin (UK), operations assistant, Rebecca Ridgeway (UK) and ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) volunteer, Scott Robinson (US) returned to the Asian country.

They met with Ladda Bangkeaw, a Thai mother who gave birth to her baby on board an evacuation boat during the disaster. Baby Nam spent the first month of her life living in a ShelterBox tent with her family before moving back to their house in Rangsit once the floodwaters receded.

Recover from birth

"I gave birth to Nam on the evacuation boat as my home had flooded leaving me with no electricity and nowhere to sit and lay down," said Ladda. "It was a relief to reach the evacuation center but for Nam’s first five days of her life we lived in an overcrowded hallway there. Then I met Scott who gave us a ShelterBox tent to live in, giving us not just privacy but dignity too. The tent was very comfortable and I was able to recover from the birth and look after Nam.

"Coming home was a shock. The house was a mess and most of our possessions had been ruined by the floods. However, I was so happy that we had survived and ShelterBox had helped us do this. We are now slowly rebuilding our lives."

Earthquakes in Turkey

Two significant earthquakes hit Van Province in Eastern Turkey in October and November last year. Thousands of people were made homeless in the region that experiences harsh winters with sub-zero temperatures and high snowfall.

Five months after the quakes struck, ShelterBox operations coordinator, Fionn McKee (UK) and operations assistant, Rebecca Ridgeway (UK) deployed to Turkey to collect feedback regarding the performance of the ShelterBox aid in a cold climate.

They discovered that while beneficiaries wanted life to return to normal as soon as possible, many preferred to stay in the ShelterBox tents rather than return home as they still lived in fear of aftershocks.

Operations coordinator, Rebecca Ridgeway (UK) talking to beneficiaries in Turkey, March 2012.

"The feedback ShelterBox receives time and time again is that the tent is one of the best humanitarian tents available," said Fionn. "We don't want families to be living in tents any longer than is necessary. But if livelihoods and homes have been destroyed then a ShelterBox tent not only provides high quality emergency shelter, it helps families stay together and sets them on their way to recovering from a disaster."

With these evaluation and monitoring programs, ShelterBox continues to improve its response to disasters in speed, effectiveness and efficiency.
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