Thursday 13 September 2012
First deployment reflections from Senegal
Photo taken by Rick Commiso showing flood damage in Dakar, Senegal, September 2012.
Heavy rains in Senegal have caused widespread flooding in the capital, Dakar and other regions, claiming over 15 lives and leaving thousands of families homeless.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been assessing the need for emergency shelter in the West African country with assistance from the Senegal Red Cross. Working with Ed Owen (UK) and Rick Commiso (US), SRT member, Sanchia Gallagher (UK) is on her first deployment:
"It has only been a few days into the deployment but I already feel like we have achieved a lot. Ibrahima Taye Thome from the Red Cross pointed toward three schools, which were being used as temporary shelters for people who had to leave their homes. After visiting two of the schools, it was obvious there was a need.
On the first day, the SRT went to the International Center for Foreign Trade of Senegal (CICES) in Dakar, where an internally displaced person (IDP) camp is currently housing 1,100 people.
Sanchia Gallagher (far left) during her SRT nine-day training course in Cornwall, UK, 2011.
"'We were lucky enough to meet the First Lady, Marième Faye Sall, and members of her charity, Foundation Servir Le Senegal, who were running the camp. Subsequently, we arranged a meeting to discuss setting up camps for further displaced families and the possible distribution of ShelterBox disaster relief tents.
The Team is currently assessing if aid is needed in other affected regions of the country.
"It's been a really interesting and diverse couple of days and I have learned so much already. Seeing the affected areas and families on the first day is humbling. It really brings it home what ShelterBox can do to help people and what a difference the tents can make.
'Training into practice'
"It was exciting but daunting to get the call on Friday, but I'm happy to be able to put my training into practice. Hopefully, we will be in a position next week where we could be setting up camps.
"Rick and Keri, our interpreters, have been amazing and together we have made a lot of progress in a short amount of time."
Floods continue to affect other parts of West Africa including Niger, where ShelterBox also has a response team working collaboratively with partners to bring shelter to those families in need.