Tuesday 18 September 2012
ShelterBox in the Sahel: Niger and MaliThe response team leads a tent demonstration for representatives of various aid agencies working with ShelterBox on deployment in Niger, September, 2012.
In response to the recent flooding, food insecurity and conflict in Niger, various aid agencies working with ShelterBox have been undertaking tent training led by one of the disaster relief charity's response teams.
To ensure proper setup and the tent's longevity, ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members John Cordell (US) and Laura Jepson (UK) held a tent demonstration for representatives of Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) International, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), Red Cross, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), as well as the Niger Civil Protection and Fire Brigade.
ShelterBox has been in Niger responding to numerous disasters including flooding that has affected an estimated 400,000 people, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Representatives of various aid agencies working with ShelterBox in response to the Sahel crisis, September, 2012.
The floods have also destroyed hundreds of acres of rice fields in Niger, one of many countries facing a food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa.
On top of this, the unusual heavy rains and ecological conditions during the summer, have caused a second generation of desert locust. They began breeding at the beginning of September in northeast Mali and northern/central Niger, both countries that are already hunger-stricken.
These swarming grasshopper-like insects can eat their own weight in fresh food daily and have previously devastated crops. In a region where millions of people are already menaced by food shortages, the locust now threaten to cause further devastation.
Political instability in Mali and ongoing conflict have also complicated a situation that has caused families not only to be forced from their homes but also to flee into neighboring countries.
The latest report from UNHCR says that almost 55,000 Malian refugees are now living across several camps in Niger. The camps are being run by the UN and by implementing partners, ACTED, Plan International and Islamic Relief.
Malian refugee families
ShelterBoxes were initially sent to Niger in August to bring more shelter to the refugee camps as they reached capacity, particularly in Abala.
However, the security situation in the West Africa region affected by the Mali crisis remains difficult and continues to restrict humanitarian aid at different levels, according to location.
Monitor the situation
ShelterBox will work with ACTED to continue monitoring the situation with the flood survivors in Niamey and the Malian families in the camps.