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  • Afghanistan Earthquake Leaves Thousands in Dire Need of Shelter

    “We are in dire need of help. The earthquake is not over for us yet. It shook our world.”

    Those words by Wahab Hayat ring true for all affected by Monday’s Afghanistan earthquake which also reached into Pakistan. It may have only rumbled the earth for 45 seconds, but it’s still shaking up thousands of lives.

    Homes Destroyed and Shelter - BBC - Afghanistan Earthquake via BBC

    At least 360 people were killed in the 7.5 magnitude earthquake, over 1,600 people injured, and over 4,000 homes destroyed. Now, just a few days after the earthquake, there is a plea for food, blankets, and other necessities. Most dire for them, however, appears to be shelter.

    In the mountainous regions, heavy rain and even snow have made things nearly unbearable for the displaced in those areas. While it’s bad for adults, they worry more about the safety of the children.

    “Thousands spent Tuesday night in near-freezing temperatures,” reported the BBC.

    Lacking proper shelter following a disaster is something we’ve seen before, and just recently, too. In April of this year, Nepal was hit with the strongest earthquake in its history. It killed 9,000 people, and destroyed around 900,000 homes. Displacement was widespread, and a lack of shelter made it difficult for most, especially when Monsoon season came about.

    To this day, nearly six months later, there is still a need of shelter in Kathmandu and other areas of Nepal. For those in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the need for shelter is become a matter of life and death.

    While government agencies and charities work quickly to bring shelter, food, and other necessities to the hardest-hit regions, broken roads and landslides made it difficult to reach some of the devastated regions. Others are still waiting for help to arrive.

    Child By Rubble - Al Jazeera - Afghanistan Earthquake via Al Jazeera

    These events are tragic, but it is still important that we learn from them. When it comes to emergency supplies, are you prepared to take care of your family for up three days at the minimum? Relying on outside help could have you waiting for days. In the case of the people in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they’re sleeping in the cold because help hasn’t arrived yet. Once their food supplies run out, that’s it. Things aren’t going well for them.

    Of course, it’s difficult to prepare for every single disaster, and every scenario that accompanies them. But you can prepare for the basic necessities. Food, water, and shelter are three of the most important areas to prepare for. Sometimes food and water take top priority. For these people, shelter is what they need most.

    Barebones Inside - Afghanistan Earthquake Inside the Barebones tent

    Start off by having emergency blankets in easy to access locations. If you have a tent, make sure it’s in good condition. If you don’t have one, consider getting one. It’s much more pleasant sleeping in even a tiny tent than outside in the wind and the elements. If you have more room for tent storage, our Barebones tents are the ultimate emergency shelter.

    But no matter what you choose, just make sure you choose something. Here in Utah and other areas of the United States, the nights are already getting a wee bit chilly. If something were to happen to your home now and you were forced to sleep outside, would you have the proper shelter to keep you and your family warm? It’s something to start thinking about.


    Earthquake Banner - Call to Action - Afghanistan Earthquake

  • 4 Reasons Why You Need an Emergency Shelter

    Kathmandu Earthquake 01 - ABCKathmandu has now taken an unenviable place in modern history, a place now known for grief and sorrow. Such distinction is shared by San Francisco-USA, Messina-Italy, Port au Prince-Haiti, Kanto-Japan, Ancash Region-Peru, Haiyuan, Tangshan and Sichuan Province-China, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, the eastern Coasts of the Indian Ocean, and many other diverse places. All are modern scenes of great death and destruction brought about by earthquake. The images from all are iconic, and are continual reminders that serenity is a delicate state, that where lies peace and tranquility may become calamity and devastation in mere seconds. Nepal becomes another example what we can expect when the unexpected happens. More importantly, we are reminded of how important it is to prepare for the real and lasting effects that follow these disasters.

    Emergency shelters create a tent city Associated Press

    A few days after the devastating Nepal earthquake happened, I wrote about how the postcard-beauty of Kathmandu had become a pile of rubble surrounded by a tent city. Of all the images from this devastation, it was the vast hillsides of tarps and blankets that most poignantly struck me. From the immediate outset, emergency shelter was a major concern for those effected by the earthquake.

    After the earthquake, half a million tents were needed to provide shelter for the masses left without a roof over their head. And, to make matters worse, this may only be the preface to the Nepalese crisis; monsoon season is mere weeks away. Soon may follow downpours of rain, followed by extreme heat. Definitely not a time to be left without shelter.

    As happy and comfortable people, we tend to think about emergency preparedness as a short-term solution. We live and breathe our “72-hour kit plan” but don’t expect to be inconvenienced any longer than that. Don’t get me wrong, 72-hour kits and emergency kits are vital. And, for many situations, a 72-hour kit will be all you need. However, there are instances – such as the Nepal earthquakes – where a 72 hour kit will be your bread and butter for the first three days, but after that, you’re going to need something a little more…permanent.

    That’s where emergency shelter comes into play.

    It’s been almost three weeks since the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal struck. Since then, many countries have donated shelters to the shelterless people of Kathmandu and other regions; Britain has donated more than 65,000 shelters, with more on the way. So why is shelter so important? Let’s use Kathmandu to explain why.


    1. The Elements
    Kathmandu Eartquake Emergency Shelter in the Rain BBC

    This is probably the most obvious reason. Rain can really put a damper on things if you’re stuck out in it. With monsoon season on its way, there has already fallen quite a bit of rain on the affected areas in Nepal – and therefore the people. And then there’s the wind. Unless their tarps and blankets are anchored by rocks, the wind will make short the benefits of their makeshift shelters.

    Staying warm and dry is essential to physical health and general sanity (imagine all those afternoons watching your kids on a windy, rainy soccer field…now imagine you can’t go home…sick, tired and crazy!). Then, there is the sun factor, and the burn that cannot be blocked (remember the soccer field, again). In Nepal, shelter from rain, wind, and sun are only the beginning of why shelter is essential if they are to prevent illness, sleep at night, and survive. Reason enough to have a shelter plan?


    1. Hot and Cold

    The rain and altitude of Nepal make the night air drop to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t know about you, but sleeping out in the cold, particularly when you’re also wet, makes for a very uncomfortable, sleepless night. And then, during the days, the heat can rise close to 90 degrees. Both extremes are compounded by the humidity. Shelter will hold the heat at night, provide much-needed shade in the day, as well as temper the extreme temperatures.


    1. Sanitation

    No matter where we are…we will all have sanitary issues. Improper disposal of human waste can shortly lead to widespread disease. Now, shelters might not necessarily cure the spread of diseases, but they can sure help. By having some sort of privacy shelter with a portable toilet, doing your business is much easier, more localized, and can be controlled, keeping waste contained, thus keeping disease and sickness to a minimum. Privacy shelters can also help keep you healthy by keeping you out of the rain, cold, and other conditions that breed illness.


    1. Insects

    Insects, man…tell you what! Those little bugs just, well, bug me while I’m camping. Shelters, fortunately, can protect us from those nasty critters. This is especially important where there are mosquitoes. If their buzzing doesn’t drive you nuts, their bites will, not to mention the fact that they can carry all sorts of diseases. So, keeping them out of your space is another benefit of being ready with shelter in a catastrophe.


    Besides all these shelter-from-the-elements reasons, the sense of home, family and belonging that a shelter provides is a benefit that cannot be overstated, particularly in a world torn apart, as in Kathmandu. So you see, there are many reasons to think beyond your 72-hour kit and consider why an emergency shelter plan is essential following a disaster.

    Do you have emergency shelter for yourself and your family? Check out our range of shelters – including the heavy duty Barebones Safari and Barebones Little Bighorn tents – and get started preparing your family with shelter!


    What shelter works best for you and your family? Let us know in comments!


    Barebones Safari Emergency Shelter

    Barebones Bighorn

  • Sleep Like the Bees in a B-and-Bee Shelter

    Sleep Like the Bees in a B-and-Bee Shelter

    Every once in a while I come across something so clever, I really wish I’d invented it. Like these ninja bread man cookie cutters. Seriously.

    My current discovery is this: portable, hexagonal, stacking shelters modeled on the architecture of a beehive for strength and efficiency of space. Called B-and-Bees, this Belgian brainwave comes equipped with convertible sleeping/seating space, luggage storage, and even power. They can be stacked at least three high (as near as I can figure out from their Dutch language blog), with metal stairs for access and a zippable canvas flap enclosure.

    The B-and-Bee is currently being marketed as a solution to the problem of muddy fields created by an abundance of tents setup for music festivals. This is a fine idea, though the author of the Gizmag article, “B-And-Bee shelter looks to comfort festival goers,” puts my feelings on that narrow scope into words when he writes, “One can't help but think that the company is missing a trick marketing B-And-Bee solely toward festival organizers, as it could perhaps be useful in other areas too, such as in natural disaster situations, for example.”

    Indeed, it looks like someone is already on top of that. Ecofriend.com reported on these hexagonal emergency shelters (with solar power, no less!) all the way back in 2010. We don’t know if they ever took off, or if B-and-Bee will tap into this market, but we sure love the idea!




    Photo Courtesy of B-and-Bee image gallery/Press Kit

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