Essential communications support rapidly deployed to Nigeria floods

International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) is deployed to Nigeria floods with 3 staff and one ICT (Information and communications technologies) module, as a support to the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team. This is the worst floods since 2012 and large areas along the rivers Niger and Benue are under water. Twelve states are affected, where four are declared under national disaster and eight are under red alert. More than 1, 9 million people are affected and approx. 300 000 have left their homes. 1 036 injured people and 199 deaths are reported.

Floods, Kogi state.

Floods, Kogi state.

Besides the support from IHP and UNDAC, there are also staff from MapAction, Atlas Logistique, REACH/IMPACT and ECHO (European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations) included. The staff from all organisations have been divided into three sub teams working in different areas of the country. The response is being led by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), in coordination with humanitarian partners, and UNDAC sub teams are embedded in NEMA to support in coordination, information management and reporting. There are a lot of challenges as bad roads, lack of electricity, lack of generators, heavy rains etcetera.

 

IDP camp, Kogi state.

Water purification unit.

One of MSB’s expert, Sven-Olov Sjöqvist is in UNDAC Team B, which is working in Kogi and Edo states.

“ The Emergency Operation Center (EOC) is located in Lokoja, a remote city with approx. 100 000 inhabitants. It’s located where the two main rivers, Niger and Benue meet and the nearest larger cities are Abuja, 3 hours away, and Benin City, 6 hours away by road. Thunderstorms with heavy rain are common during nights, and after the storms the whole city is usually out of power for several hours the next day.

When you go to the EOC in the morning, you realize that there is no power, the generator is out of fuel and there is no money to by fuel. So you start working with your equipment on battery, a couple of hours later the material is dead and you have to continue with a pen and a piece of paper. This is the reality that local emergency responders have to cope with every day. There is a water purification unit with a capacity of 4000 litres per hour, but almost no trucks that can deliver water to people in need.

The lack of resources makes the assessment and analysing process slow, which delays the possibility to request for international help. The 800 000 affected people have to wait for help. We can only be optimistic and do our best.”

IHP/MSB staff Sven- Olov Sjöqvist

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