ShelterBox Launches Tropical Cyclone Freddy Response In Eastern Africa

Media Contact: Jeremy Jacobs, Communications Director, [email protected]

International disaster response organization ShelterBox announced today that it is responding to Tropical Cyclone Freddy, a devasting, long-lasting storm that has swept through parts of Eastern Africa leaving tens of thousands homeless.

ShelterBox will provide emergency shelter and live-saving essential household items for families displaced by the catastrophic flooding in Malawi.

Experts say Cyclone Freddy may become one of the most powerful on record, displacing more than 650,000 people from their homes so far. It travelled across the southern Indian ocean for five weeks in February and March, making landfall in Madagascar, before Mozambique and Malawi and causing widespread devastation. In Malawi, more than 700 have died and hundreds remain missing.

“Tropical Cyclone Freddy is a historic storm that deserves the world’s attention,” said Kerri Murray, president of ShelterBox USA. “As climate change continues, we’re seeing the severity of storms increase, and they are causing unprecedented damage. In Malawi, there has been significant loss of life, property, and critical infrastructure. ShelterBox is working around the clock to respond and provide life-saving aid to families who lose everything in an instant.”

Catastrophic floods and mudslides have consumed homes and washed away farmland and livestock. Lack of adequate shelter and mosquito nets have exposed communities to malaria, and there are growing concerns about water-borne and other diseases, including as a recent cholera epidemic. Malawi’s president has described it as the most devastating Malawi has ever experienced.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy is a historic storm that deserves the world’s attention…In Malawi, there has been significant loss of life, property, and critical infrastructure.”

A ShelterBox emergency response team deployed to Malawi and is now working with the nonprofit CARE Malawi to provide thousands of people with emergency shelter and other essential items.

The ShelterBox team assesses damage in Malawi.


“The floods and mudslides have left huge scars on the hillsides, with enormous car sized rocks destroying everything in their path,” said Melanie Hughes, a ShelterBox program manager who led the response team on deployment in Malawi. “They’ve left nothing but boulder fields in their wake that will be impossible to clear and so the people in the communities that lived there will have no choice but to move.”

ShelterBox will provide aid as flooding subsides, allowing it to access hard to reach locations. The aid package is likely to include shelter kits to build temporary structures, and timber for framing.  It will also include kitchen sets, blankets, mosquito nets, solar lights, sleeping mats, and water filters. The aid organization is also considering multi-purpose cash in its aid package.

“People will be able to use the aid to construct a shelter that offers protection from the elements, gives safety, and provides privacy – helping people, families, and communities start their road to recovery,” Hughes said.

ShelterBox has responded in Malawi previously. After Cyclone Idai in 2019, it helped more than 10,000 people. The impact of Cyclone Freddy, however, is anticipated to be five times worse than Cyclone Idai.

In addition to this response, ShelterBox is helping people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, those displaced by the monsoon flooding in Pakistan, and the worst drought to hit East Africa in 40 years. It is also supporting people displaced by conflict in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Mozambique.

About ShelterBox USA

Since 2000, ShelterBox has provided shelter and life-saving items following more than 300 disasters in nearly 100 countries. ShelterBox responds urgently to earthquake, volcano, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami, or conflicts. It works with local partners and individuals to customize each response, which can include a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, a water filtration system, emergency lighting, and other tools for survival. ShelterBox was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 and 2019. ShelterBox USA is based in Santa Barbara, California.


Holly Rickett, an emergency response legal expert and county attorney, has joined ShelterBox’s Board of Directors.


Dr. Richard Columbia, an international development expert with over 40 years of experience, has joined the Board of Directors at ShelterBox USA.


Noaman Sharief has joined the Board of Directors at ShelterBox USA in the role of Treasurer.