Historic disaster responses

Since 2000, we have responded to a number of major disasters that shook whole countries and their people. Explore some of them here.

Gujarat earthquake, 2001

On 26 January 2001, a powerful earthquake hit the state of Gujarat, western India.

The earthquake, also known as the Bhuj earthquake, killed nearly 20,000 people and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes in India.

The 7.7 magnitude earthquake destroyed over 1 million structures including historic buildings.

This was the first disaster that the newly formed ShelterBox team were able to respond to.

Working in partnership with local Rotary contacts, families were supported with emergency shelter aid and other essential items.

This first response was only a few boxes, but it was the beginning of what ShelterBox is today. We are so grateful to those who supported ShelterBox’s vision back then, and we are so grateful for those who continue to support that vision now!

Boxes being unloaded in India, following the devastating earthquake in Gujarat.

Boxing Day Tsunami, 2004

On Boxing Day, 26 December 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed nearly a quarter of a million people and left nearly 2 million people homeless.

People were swept away by the monster waves, which arrived rapidly and with little warning.

The deadly tsunami devastated the nearest coastlines of Indonesia, but also caused destruction across the coasts affecting a total of 14 countries.

The disaster was caused by a type of earthquake called a ‘megathrust earthquake’, which forces one of the earth’s tectonic plates to be thrust under another. It was the fourth largest recorded earthquake, measuring more than magnitude 9.

The resulting tsunamis reached 20m in height at landfall in parts of Aceh, Indonesia, and travelled at speeds of up to 800km per hour. In some places, the waves spread 3km inland carrying debris and seawater with them. They devastated everything they hit, and retreating waters eroded whole shorelines.

Haiti earthquake, 2010

On 12 January 2010, a powerful earthquake struck Haiti, bringing chaos and destruction.

The initial shock of 7.0 magnitude was quickly followed by aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.5. Aftershocks continued to batter the area throughout the following weeks.

The devastation was on a scale previously unimaginable – homes were turned to rubble, families were separated, livelihoods were completely destroyed.

Following the devastating earthquake in 2010, over 28,000 families were supported with essential ShelterBox aid. This included tents to provide families with emergency shelter to start recovering, kitchen sets to allow them to cook and eat together again, and mosquito nets to protect against insect-borne diseases like malaria.

10 years after this response in Port-au-Prince, the humanitarian sector at large has learned a lot, and made significant improvements to how aid is delivered, and how best to support families in crisis. Thanks to your ongoing trust in ShelterBox, operations teams have continued to evaluate and learn from each response. This helps your dollars reach families in the most effective way possible, and helps your vision of a world where no one is without shelter after a disaster, become a reality.

Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines, 2013

On Friday 8 November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, causing catastrophic damage.

With winds of 195mph and waves up to 7ms, the typhoon is still the largest storm ever recorded to make landfall. It is the deadliest on record in the Philippines, with more than 7,000 people losing their lives.

A total of around 11 million people were affected, with 6 million people displaced. Six million workers lost their source of income when agriculture and boats were destroyed.

ShelterBox’s response was large and complex, helping communities across seven different islands, working to ensure that emergency shelter aid and other essential equipment reached thousands of vulnerable families.

Canadians across the country provided vital support towards this disaster. We remain extremely grateful that so many Canadians saw this massive destruction, and the need to support Haitians. Your concern and compassion enabled so many families to receive emergency shelter to begin their recovery process.

Nepal Earthquake - 2015

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, toppling multi-story buildings in Kathmandu, the capital, and creating landslides and avalanches in the Himalaya Mountains. Nearly 9,000 people died and more than 22,000 suffered injuries.

The earthquake was so large that tremors were felt as far away as Delhi and whole villages across Nepal were completely flattened.

Families in Nepal were provided them with a shelter kit full of materials to mend and create shelters. But the communities were also shown how to use the kits in a variety of ways to build back safer homes – homes that will be more resilient to future earthquakes. Emergency shelter is the first step to self recovery.

ShelterBox was able to support almost 68,000 people that were left homeless by the Nepal earthquake.

And that wouldn’t have been possible without your support. The response from individuals across the country was amazing. Thousands of people sent in donations, putting their faith and trust in ShelterBox to support these families. Rotary Clubs across the country showed their support by fundraising within their communities and donation to support emergency aid. So many families were helped thanks to the massive generosity of Canadians like you.

Recent Deployments

2017 - Hurricane Irma & Maria

See your support 1 year later

One year after Hurricane Irma & Maria devastated the caribbean, our supporters were still reaching out to support this families.

2019 - Cyclone Idai

See the story of home

Rotarians in Canada and in Malawi were vital to the response supporting families after this massive storm

2020 - Current Operations

Where are we working now

Your continued support allows us to help thousands of families every year

Explore more