Tuesday 23 October 2012
Families call ShelterBox tents "home" in NigerPhotograph by David Hatcher.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is currently working to deliver vital lifesaving equipment to families in need in Niamey, Niger.
SRT members, David Hatcher (UK) and Joanna Reid (UK) arrived in the African country on Monday, October 15, following widespread flooding, the extent of which has left damage across all of Niger’s eight regions. The flood damage has only compounded the already overstretched resources of the country, which has received an influx of displaced families from neighboring Mali where political instability and conflict continues.
Upon arrival, the team quickly set to work to begin distribution of 497 ShelterBoxes that were pre-positioned in country with Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED).
As a result of collaborating with other aid agencies, the ShelterBox Response Team has been able to help families find shelter in disaster relief tents. On Wednesday, October 17, the team worked with the Fire Service to erect tents at the Abadan Goungou camp.
“The site chief of Abadan Goungou was pleased with the efforts today but most importantly we were able to help 39 families begin to rebuild their lives.
“It’s been great to work with the Fire Service Team as well as workers from neighboring camps. It’s truly been a communal effort, with people of all ages working together to get families moved into the ShelterBox tents,” said Hatcher.
On Thursday, October 18, the SRT shifted their attention to the nearby Abada Camp. More tents will be erected over the weekend.
Niger is exposed to extreme weather and the aid camps must sustain abuse from harsh sun, wind and rain. The team has encountered many sunburned children while helping families in the region, which has further fuelled their efforts to establish camps.
“I was absolutely devastated to see badly sunburned children. I wish we could do more, which is why getting the ShelterBox message out is so important," said Hatcher.
The ShelterBox disaster relief tents have been custom designed and manufactured by one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers to withstand extreme temperatures, intense UV light, high winds and heavy rainfall. Multiple levels of ventilation allow as much airflow as possible in these incredibly hot environments. The portable nature of the ShelterBox tents also makes them a great solution for shelter in Niger, where forecasts predict severe rains may strike again in December, causing yet further flooding. In this event, the ShelterBox tents can be easily moved to a new location, allowing for an extended solution to a shelter crisis that shows no signs of easing anytime soon.
The SRT will continue to distribute aid throughout this week to families in need across the region.