Ten-year-old Mahe lives in a rural village in the region of Dosso, in Niger. Heavy rains recently flooded most of Dosso and destroyed thousands of homes - including Mahe’s. “We were living a happy and peaceful life when the rain burst into our village at dawn and destroyed our home, our clothes, our food and all our possessions," says Mahe.
His father, a farmer, lost all his crops in the flood. This is a double blow because they were already affected by drought last year leading to poor harvests.
Plan is helping children like Mahe and their families in Niger to cope with four emergencies that have hit the country in a matter of months. We are working with partners to ensure a coordinated response to the complex situation there.
Repeated poor harvests complicated by drought and insect infestation led to a food crisis across the Sahel region. The situation remains fragile with low supplies and a general rise in prices. There are reasonable prospects for agricultural production if good rains continue, but in the areas where Plan works delayed planting and poor soil could mean inadequate harvests.
Plan has distributed food to 65,000 people affected by the food crisis, stocked 48 cereal banks and provided regular meals in 69 schools.
Flooding has affected a reported 400,000 people leaving 52 dead. The main challenges right now are access to flood-affected areas and verification of the numbers of people affected There is concern that the Niger River will flood again as it will reach its seasonal peak early . This means people living in temporary camps may need to be relocated.
Plan has distributed emergency supplies, including tents, mosquito nets and blankets to more than 2,500 households and we are set to provide similar items to another 1,000 households.
The majority of flood-affected families are sheltering in schools and mosques. Mahe and his family are living in the village school. He is concerned because school should restart in a few weeks, after the summer holiday, but the classrooms are still housing families. “My father managed to buy some wood to build a new house but he still has to buy the straw for the roof. I hope the other families will also succeed in building their new houses before school resumes,” says Mahe.
Plan is working to ensure that schools are available and ready for children to resume school in October.
Political instability in neighbouring Mali has brought an influx of refugees to Niger since early 2012 and numbers continue to increase. Almost 60,000 people have entered the country, placing additional strain on Nigeriens’ ability to cope. Plan is managing a camp at Tabareybarey with nearly 8,500 people and working in Mangaize camp where more than 5,000 people are living. As well as ensuring access to clean water, we are providing pre-school and psychosocial activities.
Floods increase the threat of water-borne diseases such as cholera and malaria. There have been several thousand cases and 80 deaths in Niger this year. In Tillaberi, Plan is working on both prevention and treatment through the provision of medicine and medical supplies. We are also providing some technical staff and 30,000 litres of disinfectant fluid for treatment centres.
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Find out more about Plan's work in Niger.