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Nigerian village starts to heal

ShelterBox - Thu, 6 Dec 2012 15:15 GMT
Author: ShelterBox
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Nigerian village starts to heal The third tent set up at Atakpa was given to Miriam Zakoti and her nine children, December 2012.

Suleimon Idis is the closest thing the village of Atakpa in central Nigeria has to a doctor. He is a dispensary officer who works with people who have become sick during the recent flooding. People have come from all five devastated villages in the area for treatment; people who have no one else to turn to when they need medical help. Suleimon cares for and monitors patients in extremely basic conditions, which can compromise the healing process.

'Having a place where we can move people to which is clean, has these solar lights in them so we can work at night, and most importantly keeps out all of the mosquitos and flies, has been a blessing,' said Suleimon. 'It is giving us a chance to really help these sick people.'

Dispensary Officer Suleimon Idis, Atakpa village, Nigeria, December 2012.

Atakpa is one of hundreds of towns and villages along the Niger River in Kogi State that have been ravaged by the overflowing floodwaters. ShelterBox has been distributing emergency shelter and other lifesaving aid to families in need in this area.

When the water was at its highest, Atakpa's village leader, Mr. Zakoti, was bitten by a snake that was washed into the village with the floodwaters. Unable to receive proper treatment, he subsequently died from the wound. His passing left a void in the community leadership during the worst crisis the village has ever faced.

'Community together'

'The memory of my husband has brought the community together so strongly,' commented Zakoti's wife Mariam. 'He was a good man – he’d be happy to see what’s happening here.'

Mariam and her nine children now live in two ShelterBox tents, and with the support of the whole village they are coping with their loss.

Mohammed Ali is confined to a wheelchair. Life in this part of the world is extremely difficult for him, his wife and three children. The flood has left him more vulnerable than most, yet he is the person whom the village of Atakpa gave the honour of receiving the first ShelterBox tent.

Mohammed and SRT member Mark Dyer (US), Atakpa, Nigeria, December 2012.

The entire village worked with the ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) to help set it up as a demonstration on how to assemble the tents. It is placed where Mohammed's house had been before.

'Back home'

'I can’t believe that people all over the world would help my family and our village and give us something so wonderful – now I am back home, thank you,' said Mohammed.

Jan Larsson (SE) is not only the first ever Swedish SRT member but also is on his first ShelterBox deployment:

'Today we saw the very best of human nature with people helping each other including their family, friends and neighbours. It is the reason I volunteered to become a Response Team volunteer, this deployment has made a very deep impact on me.'

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