Following four days of heavy rains in Niger's northern Air Mountains, severe floods have wreaked havoc in the city of Agadez on Tuesday, September 1. MSF teams already present in the city started providing emergency assistance in order to meet the urgent needs of the affected population. "The situation in Agadez is dramatic," said MSF's Head of Mission, Giorgio Calarco. "It looks as if the city has been hit by a large-scale earthquake and the needs are enormous. It is estimated that approximately 3,500 houses were destroyed and 28,000 people were left homeless due to the floods that are reported to be the worst in recent memory. "Most of the homeless people sought refuge in host families, while approximately 10,000 people, including many pregnant women and children under the age of five, have found shelter in 13 schools. Having assessed the situation in the flood affected areas of Agadez, MSF teams started providing emergency medical assistance through a mobile clinic that visits the displaced families sheltering in schools and refers patients to the three health centers that MSF supports in the city. MSF is also planning to distribute non-food items, such as soap and hygiene kits, to approximately 2,000 displaced families, and build latrines in some of the schools that are hosting the homeless families. On September 6, an MSF truck with drugs and a cholera kit [containing drips, antibiotics, plasticized cover sheets, soap, disinfectant and chlorine] to be used should cholera cases appear, has reached Agadez. Outside the city of Agadez there are reports that more than 7,000 people have been also displaced due to the floods. However access to these people is not easy, due to the alarming insecurity in the area.
Additional MSF activities
- MSF has been working in Agadez since May 2009, supporting three health centers for the provision of free health care for mothers and their children.
- In the following months, MSF teams plan to carry out a measles vaccination campaign for all the children between the ages of six months to five years.
- MSF is also running nutritional projects in Madaoua and Bouza.