Each box is 23.7 (570mm) wide by 33.2 (842mm) long by 22.4 (602mm) deep giving a capacity of 40.7gallons (185 litres). Fully packed, a box generally weighs between 110lbs and 130lbs (50 to 60kg).
At the heart of every ShelterBox is a ten-person tent. It is custom made for ShelterBox by Vango, one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers, and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall. Internally, each tent has privacy partitions that allow recipients to divide the space as they see fit.
Every box contains a children’s pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. For children who have lost most, if not all of their possessions, these small gifts are treasured.
Warmth and protection
In addition to the tent, the boxes contain a range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall. Where malaria is prevalent mosquito nets are supplied, as well a life saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed, this presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.
A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters can be found in every box. These items enable people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.
Fit for purpose
Every item is durable, practical and brand new. The box itself is lightweight and waterproof and has been used for a variety of purposes in the past - from water and food storage containers to a cot for a newly born baby.
A heart to the home
A key piece in every box is either a wood burning or multi-fuel stove - that can burn anything from diesel to old paint. This provides the heart of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition, there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers.
We keep a broad range of equipment in stock so we can adapt the contents of a box to a specific disaster. For example, following the Javanese earthquake in 2006, when some resources were available locally or could be salvaged fromone storey buildings, the overwhelming need was for shelter – so we just sent tents, packing two in each box.
Only new equipment is used and is carefully selected for durability, practicality and suitability for where it is needed. Tough, lightweight and waterproof, the box itself can also have many useful functions from food container to cot. We also continually work with a range of manufacturers to improve the quality and extend the range of equipment that we have available.
A range of equipment is kept in stock. This lets us adjust the contents of the box according to local conditions and what is most urgently needed. Sometimes particularly if other resources are available locally and the overwhelming need is for shelter we will just send tents and pack two in each box.
Each box costs an average of $1,500 including all materials, packing, storage and distribution to individual recipients worldwide.
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