UNHCR has provided emergency shelter assistance to vulnerable refugees and displaced persons in Diffa since 2013 when, the first refugees crossed the border to flee Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. In 2016 alone, over 65,000 people in the Diffa region were sheltered by UNHCR.
Emergency shelters are not a long-term or sustainable solution, particularly in such harsh climatic conditions, with temperatures often reaching as high as 48 degrees Celsius in the dry season, regular sandstorms, and flooding in the rainy season. Made of plastic sheeting, sticks of wood and rope, emergency shelters are estimated to last just 6 months. With around 250,000 displaced spread across the region, 4 years since the arrival of the first forcibly displaced, humanitarian actors are constantly battling to meet the needs.
In 2016, UNHCR carried out an initial assessment on the suitability of the Better Shelter Relief Housing Unit (RHU) in local contexts, in order to gather feedback and ideas from the refugees. In remote areas like Diffa where access to electricity is scarce, the shelter’s solar-powered light solution was received positively. Part of this assessment included the deployment of around 1500 RHUs across the region.
Read more about the situation here.