Extensive flooding in Niger has caused significant damage and displacement across all of the African country's eight regions, including the largest of Tillabery, Dosso and Niamey, said top official Aghaly Abdoulkader, the director of the cabinet.
Over the past few months, heavy rains have damaged infrastructure, fields, rice paddies and water points destroying large quantities of food and washing away many cattle.
Furthermore, there are displaced Malian families who have been forced to flee their homes into Niger due to political instability and ongoing conflict in their country.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has arrived in Niamey to continue the disaster relief charity's response to both disasters by finding suitable solutions to distribute shelter already in country with various aid agencies, including Femmes France-Niger, Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
'Yesterday we had meetings all day with organisers of response to both issues,' said SRT member David Hatcher (UK). 'Today we have plans to recce some sites with Femmes France-Niger where flood survivors can be possibly relocated, and to talk to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) about how we may be able to support them with the Mali refugee crisis.'
Joanna Reid (UK) is the SRT member accompanying David: 'As far as challenges are concerned, there are a few. The kidnapping of six aid workers in country last night is on our minds; providing the displaced families the help they need; and identifying local partners who can help with constructing the tents. Also we have to be aware of the local policies about the provision of tents that differ from region to region when looking at distribution options.'
'What started out as a challenging day, not helped by all of my kit going missing during the flight here, has ultimately proved to be very positive,' said David. 'Though the heat is proving to be a bit of a challenge with the temperature forecasted to be well over 100°F (38°C) every day this week.'