Australian Response Team Member Reports From Nigeria

Some of you may have noticed that I’m currently on deployment in Nigeria. Below is a copy our latest report from Lokoja, Kogi State.

SRT member Derek Locke (US) en route to assess displaced communities on the River Benue, Kogi State, Nigeria, November 2012.

SRT member Derek Locke (US) en route to assess displaced communities on the River Benue, Kogi State, Nigeria, November 2012. © Mike Greenslade/ShelterBox

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been assessing emergency shelter needs in Nigeria, which is currently suffering from the worst flooding in five decades that has forced thousands of families from their homes. 

As paperwork for the first consignment of ShelterBoxes has been finalised, SRT members Mike Greenslade (AU) and Derek Locke (US) have identified suitable sites in the flood-hit region to set up emergency shelter in Idah, Lokoja and the riverine village of Atakpa.

‘We are based in Lokoja, where the Niger and Benue rivers meet, a scene of the recent heavy flooding,’ said Mike. ‘Yesterday we made a journey by boat across the Niger to the River Benue to Atakpa, accompanied by the State Governor’s Special Advisor, General Onekpetu.

SRT Derek Locke consults with government officials and community leaders at Atakpa on the River Benue, Kogi State, Nigeria, November 2012.

SRT Derek Locke consults with government officials and community leaders at Atakpa on the River Benue, Kogi State, Nigeria, November 2012. Image:©Mike Greenslade/ShelterBox

‘The water level has dropped dramatically in the recent weeks, as is evident from the flood debris trapped some 10-15 feet in the trees, allowing some families to return to their homes. However, in Atakpa we found 85 families being hosted by the village in makeshift shelters, as their homes have been completely washed away.

‘Riverine communities rely on fishing to make a living and moving too far away from the river is out of the question. We plan to provide all the families with boxes and when they are able to, they will relocate with their tents, start rebuilding their homes and get back to fishing.’

Derek gives an insight to the problems the African country currently faces and explains the need for aid:

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