‘In an emergency situation, I’ve realised how every moment we don’t act, every day that we wait for tents to arrive, is another day that people are left without shelter.’
ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Lodovicia Tranchini (IT) is on her first deployment in Niger. She has been part of the first SRT who has been assessing the need for emergency shelter and other vital aid, following widespread flash flooding across the African country.
‘I’ve heard some really good things from in-country partner organisations we worked with here last year and they all commend ShelterBox for its efficiency and speed in getting the aid in to the country time and time again.’
The SRT has been working with International Organization for Migration (IOM) and visited some schools where thousands of families have been taking refuge. However, rooms are overcrowded and school is due to start at the beginning of October.
33-year-old Saidou Issa is one of the families living in cramped conditions in a classroom. He is with his wife and three children, the youngest being just two months old. Their house was completely destroyed by the floodwaters.
‘The water came up very quickly,’ Saidou told the SRT. ‘Within two hours it was up to our waists and we had to evacuate. The water pulled down all of our houses; they all disappeared underwater and we had no warning.’
Saidou is one example of the 1,000 families currently living across several schools in need of shelter. When school resumes, they need to move out to avoid disrupting education.
‘ShelterBox tents arriving tonight’
‘Without a ShelterBox tent they would be sleeping outside,’ said SRT member Peter Pearce (AU). ‘We have ShelterBox disaster relief tents arriving tonight and we will begin distributions tomorrow.’
‘While we have been waiting for the tents to arrive we have been training teams of people who will help us set up the tents over the next few days,’ added Lodovicia. ‘So as soon as the tents get here we can hit the ground running and start giving shelter to thousands of families in need.’