Floods in Niger; Credit: Luxembourg Red Cross

Teams from the Luxembourg Red Cross have mobilised in the Sahel region in response to the floods that hit the region at the end of August.

Following these unprecedented floods, many families have been left homeless. Teams from the Luxembourg Red Cross are mobilised in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad to alert populations and install emergency shelters. However, in the face of the scale of the damage, more support is needed to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the floods.

Prosper Zombre, head of mission in Niger for the Luxembourg Red Cross, noted: “Many have lost what little they had. Families have been relocated to schools in an emergency. But with the start of the new school year, the situation cannot last any longer”.

The situation is increasingly tense in the country, as more than 432,000 people are affected and 36,000 homes destroyed, according to the Nigerien Ministry of Humanitarian Action. The Luxembourg Red Cross is supporting the Niamey Regional Committee of the Red Cross, which has mobilised its volunteers and this week started the distribution of 100 emergency shelters. "These stocks allow us to offer a roof to some of the families, but remain insufficient to meet the scale of the needs", continued the head of mission.

The situation is similar in neighbouring countries, such as Burkina Faso, where heavy damage from floods and high winds has been recorded, as well as a continuous increase in the number of people affected. The scale of the situation led the Burkinab government to declare a state of natural disaster during the Council of Ministers of 8 September 2020. On the human level, thirteen deaths have been recorded, as well as 50 people injured and 563 homeless. The material damage is also substantial: more than 3,300 houses have been destroyed, 1,600 damaged and nearly 1,800 emergency shelters used by internally displaced people have been destroyed or damaged.

In N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, more than 6,000 shelters were destroyed, creating relocation needs for more than 5,800 people. Here too, families have sought refuge in schools or with other families. Clara Bretin, Chad department at the Luxembourg Red Cross, added: “Displaced people need everything: shelter, latrines, hygiene kits. We are organising ourselves to be able to help them urgently”.

The regular projects carried out by the Luxembourg Red Cross in Sahelian countries have enabled it to mobilise quickly to help local populations cope with climatic hazards. In Niger, for example, emergency brigades mobilised immediately to alert families. Beyond Niger, teams from the Luxembourg Red Cross are mobilised in Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad. They are planning with other actors on the ground to provide the best possible assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods.

An expert in the field of emergency shelters, the Luxembourg Red Cross works throughout the world to protect populations from climatic hazards. Its teams contribute in particular to emergency preparedness and strengthen the resilience of communities in their countries of intervention.