How COVID-19 impacts disaster-affected families around the world


  1. When you lose your home after a disaster or in a conflict, your ability to stay safe and healthy is already compromised.
  2. 84% of the 70.7 million people driven from their homes by conflict live in the least developed countries in the world where support is already limited.
  3. COVID-19 will impact the hospitals and health care systems in less developed countries far more severely than in developed countries like Canada.
  4. Providing emergency shelter and other essential items after disaster not only helps families recover but can also offer a place where families can be together away from others in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak.
  5. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis affecting all of us. Now imagine the nightmare of living in one of the least developed countries and dealing with a disaster or conflict on top of COVID-19, without the support you need.

Like you, the team here at ShelterBox is concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on our lives and the world around us.

We are lucky to be living in a country with robust health services and significant medical resources. Most of us are able to self-isolate in our own homes and care for ourselves and each other.

Yet for people who are homeless because of conflict or other disaster, COVID-19 is a new and deadly threat. Millions of families around the world have had resources stripped from them and have nothing no way of protecting themselves and their children. And they have no access to healthcare.

COVID-19 is shining a spotlight on the fundamental importance of home to our health and wellbeing, and our ability to deal with the serious problems that life can bring. While we are adapting to new routines, working from home or self-isolating, we can all appreciate how important our home is for our physical and mental health.

All of our lives are being affected by COVID-19 in some way, but those living in refugee camps or in makeshift settlements are particularly vulnerable. Imagine being seriously ill with no roof over your head. There’s little hope of ‘social distancing’ when there are no blankets to keep your children warm. You can’t wash your hands frequently when there is no clean water. You can’t make your children nutritious meals when there is not enough food, nowhere to cook, and nothing to cook it in.

We face uncertain and unprecedented times.

Compassion and dedication to humanitarian values are more important than ever. Together we can continue to make sure families around the world receive the emergency shelter they need.


Woman stands in front of her shelter with a ShelterBox in front of her
We've been supporting families in Somaliland affected by severe drought.

At ShelterBox, we continually seek new ways to tackle the challenges we face, proactively researching new ideas and adapting to changing circumstances.

Travel restrictions will make our work more challenging, however, we are committed to providing vulnerable families with a place to call home through this COVID-19 outbreak. Our powerful partnerships are going to be more important than ever.

Here are a few of the ways we are working to support families around the world after disaster:

  • We continue to work with our local partners in Somaliland and we have projects coming up soon with communities in Cameroon and Ethiopia.
  • We have aid prepositioned around the world, in Belgium, Dubai, Panama, the Philippines, that is ready to be used if needed.
  • Our work monitoring disasters around the world is unaffected.
  • We have a global network of affiliate organizations, volunteers and Rotary contacts, and when disaster strikes we will work together to find new and innovative ways to reach communities who need support.


Where we are working

Get the latest updates from the field and discover where we’re supporting communities around the world in the aftermath of natural disaster and conflict.

How We Work

Supporting families to rebuild their lives.

Emergency Aid

Read about the different aid items that you can provide for families around the world.