The Duchess of Cornwall has sent her warm wishes to Truro based disaster response charity ShelterBox over its response to the Haitian earthquake.

The recent earthquake caused widespread devastation on the Caribbean island. The Cornwall-based, disaster relief charity has a team in Haiti working to provide vital emergency shelter aid after the powerful earthquake and aftershocks destroyed around 137,000 homes.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the west of Haiti at 8.29am local time on Saturday, August 14. The epicentre was some 150km from the densely populated capital of Port-au-Prince and was felt across the Caribbean. Tropical Storm Grace then compounded an already terrible situation, delivering more than a foot of rain over some of the worst affected areas.

Camilla,The Duchess of Cornwall, has been patron of ShelterBox since 2007. The note of warm wishes was sent to mark the moment the charity was able to send a team in-person to a disaster, after travel restrictions have seen the charity work entirely through partners for 18 months.

The duchess said: “As the proud Patron of ShelterBox, I wanted to send my warmest thanks and best wishes to the wonderful team which has now arrived in the region to assist the people of Haiti in the wake of the terrible earthquake which recently struck the island.

2Through providing emergency shelter, tools and other essentials and through your excellent relationships with partner organisations, you will, I know, save many lives and help families to rebuild what they have lost. Your compassion and courage inspire us all. You, and the people of Haiti, are much in my thoughts and prayers.”

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were first introduced to ShelterBox in 2006. While on an official visit to Pakistan, they learnt about our work supporting families who had lost their homes in the Kashmiri earthquake.

Alongside other humanitarian organisations, the ShelterBox team is working in Haiti to assess damage, understand from communities what they need, and work on the challenging logistics of delivering aid.

Haiti is still recovering from the devastating earthquake in 2010 which caused extensive damage to infrastructure and the economy. ShelterBox provided shelter for 28,000 families (140,000 people) in Haiti – the charity’s biggest response to date, outside the long-running conflict in Syria.

ShelterBox has significant experience in the region, working in Haiti five times including in 2010 after a magnitude 7 earthquake devastated the country, when 200,000 people lost their lives and five million people lost their homes.

Whilst the charity has continued to provide emergency shelter aid to disaster affected communities throughout the coronavirus travel restrictions via trusted partners, this is the first time ShelterBox has deployed an in-person team since the pandemic started. ShelterBox’s emergency shelter aid includes items like tents, tarpaulin, tools, mosquito nets, cooking materials and more.