After the worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria, back in mid-December five UNHRD’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) members were sent to support the humanitarian operations in some of the most extremely unstable areas in the North-east of the country, namely Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe regions. Their ability to quickly and resiliently respond to the needs of the humanitarian actors working on field has been critical.
Upon their arrival the RRT started to coordinate several projects leading to the setup of eight Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) in Gwoza, Ngala, Damaturu for humanitarian organizations. During their mission, Team members also supported the daily operations at the WFP's warehouse in Maiduguri working together with locally hired and international staff to properly load, unload, stack, track and manage relief items. Moreover, in coordination with the WFP-led Logistics Sector, the RRT supported the operations of all the involved humanitarian partners. Exemplars were the efforts in Maiduguri to set up two prefabricated offices at the WFP's warehouse, two at the UN basecamp for the WFP's Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, and eight for the World Health Organization (WHO). Richie Bhattarai, one of the deployed RRT Members, described how: there was uncertainty and we had to make ourselves ready for the worst. This was the first time I was away from my family and it was frightening to live amidst. But we had to digest that fear and start assisting people that were left with almost nothing. Given that there were frequent news on bombing and shoot outs, it was an extremely challenging situation to work in. However as a humanitarian worker, it was a great exposure to me and I would love to go back and work for Nigeria.
This outstanding work is the outcome of a long term investment. Thanks to the generous support of the UPS Foundation back in 2015, and to additional trainings provided in 2016, the UNHRD’s Rapid Deployment Mechanism became an important preparedness and response tool, bringing highly valuable expertise in large scale logistics operations. In addition to Nigeria, in 2016 UNHRD Rapid Response Teams were also deployed at the onset of major emergency crises in Japan, Ecuador, Ethiopia, and Haiti.
Depending on the nature of each emergency the tasks of RRT members can change. Team members can be involved in a wide range of tasks from supply chain management, cargo receipt, and equipment handling, to administrative support, base camp organization and many other tasks that contribute to the efficient functioning of a humanitarian response. They also work with local support workers to transfer knowledge and build capacity, so that the response and rebuilding efforts can become nationally sustainable as soon as possible.
For more information on the Rapid Response Team, please visit: