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Thursday 07 March 2013

ShelterBox USA Annual Conference rattles in San Francisco
ShelterBox USA Annual Conference rattles in San Francisco Staff from ShelterBox USA and ShelterBox International who assisted with the running of the conference, February 2013.

As a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist was invited on stage at ShelterBox USA's Annual Conference on 22 February in San Francisco, a 2.0-magnitude tremor that occurred 70 miles away left many attendees feeling disorientated.


Others in the audience did not feel the slight shake but it was rather serendipitous considering Dr. Walter Mooney, also a geophysicist, was about to talk about the science behind disasters to which ShelterBox responds, describing what happens to the earth during tsunamis, earthquakes and other disasters.

'San Francisco lies on the San Andreas fault line that runs a length of around 1,300 kilometres (810 miles) through California,' said ShelterBox's Head of International Communications and Fundraising Becky Maynard.

'Not only was it opportune that a mini quake happened at the time of Dr. Mooney's talk but it's also interesting to note that in 1906, a major quake struck San Francisco causing fires to break out that destroyed 80 per cent of the city. Some photos show what look like ShelterBox disaster relief tents, telling us that relief work was happening back then. It's now remembered as one of the United States' worst natural disasters.'

Over 100 years later, about 100 volunteers and supporters from 20 different states of America met at The Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel to support ShelterBox's disaster relief work and increase their knowledge of disasters.


Emily Sperling with ShelterBox USA's top fundraisers of 2012 at the Humanitarian Awards, February 2013.

Emily Sperling, President of ShelterBox USA, commented: 'The conference was set up to be a bit of a 'Disaster University' with the aim to increase participants' understanding of natural disasters and how they occur; how the ShelterBox solution can be applied to help vulnerable families made homeless by disasters; and ways to raise awareness about ShelterBox in communities across the USA.'

Over three days, participants were able to visit the California Academy of Sciences for a special exhibit on earthquakes; speak to ShelterBox USA and International staff about their relevant areas of expertise including fundraising and operations; and ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members had the chance for further training.

Moreover, ShelterBox honoured and celebrated the achievements of those who make its lifesaving mission possible at the Humanitarian Awards Dinner, which recognised supporters from corporates and non-governmental organisations as well as ShelterBox USA's top volunteers.

'We offered a special recognition award to Rotary International for its support of providing shelter, warmth and dignity to disaster survivors,' added Emily.

'We enjoyed the opportunity to train, learn from, and recognise some of ShelterBox's most stalwart volunteers and supporters without whom our mission would not be possible. Their enthusiasm for delivering emergency shelter to families left vulnerable following disasters is simply outstanding.'
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