ShelterBox tents are being used for medical purposes in the Republic of the Congo, following an arms depot that exploded in the capital of Brazzaville on the 8 March.
Thousands of people have been left homeless, injured and traumatised after several explosions ripped apart the Mpila neighbourhood and damaged various others. As a result, they have been staying in overcrowded temporary shelter camps.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Congolese Red Cross and the French Red Cross have been making the blast site safe; and working in the camps to restore family links and help children who have been separated from their families as a result of the accident. ShelterBox has provided tents across the camps to be used as a place of reception and welcome to the camps, but more importantly, to enable the ICRC to give trauma counselling for the survivors.
The hot, wet climate can also affect the displaced people's health and can increase the chance of cholera to spread. ShelterBox tents are being used by the Africa Doctors Association who have been doing minor operations and delivering treatments for those in need of medical attention.
'Privacy and dignity'
'I was seeing five patients a day before we received these two tents from ShelterBox,' said Dr. Sombo. 'But now I have 150 patients a day. The environment is cleaner, we can work faster, and above all, it offers the patients privacy and dignity. Thank you.'
ShelterBox Response Team member John Diksa (FR) has been assessing the need in the Central African country:
'It's a very challenging environment to work in as it looks like an earthquake has hit the city, but then there is also ammunition and unexploded ordnance that needs to be cleared under the rubble before attempting to return these families to their homes.'
'We have been working with the ICRC, Handicap International and other aid agencies to coordinate a tent distribution plan for a ShelterBox camp we plan to set up over the next few days. Until the site is levelled and cleared, we are distributing tents to families near their damaged homes on cleared, safe ground, allowing them to begin rebuilding their homes. We have also been providing tents for medical purposes to other aid agencies.'