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.
David Hatcher (UK) and Joanna Reid (UK) arrived in the African country on Monday 15 October 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 neighbouring 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).
It has been as a result of collaborative working that the ShelterBox Response Team has been able to help families find shelter in disaster relief tents. On Wednesday 17 October the team worked with the Fire Service to erect tents at the Abadan Goungou camp.
‘The site chief of Abadan Goungou was really 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 under cover and into the ShelterBox tents’ said David Hatcher.
On Thursday 18 October the SRT shifted their attention to help deliver further aid to families in need in the nearby Abada Camp with more tents being erected over the weekend.
Niger is exposed to extremes in weather and the aid camps need to be able to sustain abuse from harsh sun, wind and rain. The team have encountered many badly sun burned children whilst helping families in the region which has further fuelled their efforts to establish camps.
‘I was absolutely devastated to see badly sun burned children. I wish we could do more which is why getting the ShelterBox message out is so important' said David 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; additionally multiple levels of ventilation allow as much airflow as possible in these incredibly hot environments. The portable nature of the ShelterBox tents also make them a great solution to the need for shelter in Niger where it is forecasted that severe rains may strike again in December causing yet further flooding. In this eventuality the ShelterBox tents can be easily moved to a new location allowing for a prolonged 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.