My Week: Richard Loat is responding to emergencies in Sudan

The response team member at ShelterBox recounts his week

Richard Loat
Richard Loat

Monday: I'm in Sudan, responding to the recent floods. We head out to deliver the last of a deployment of 504 tents in El Kyrab.

We work alongside the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, distributing tents and visiting the homes of those affected. One worker shows us her white tent among heaps of rubble. I climb what was once a two-storey structure to take a picture of the area on my phone. For miles you can see white ShelterBox tents standing on plots of land where people's homes were.

Tuesday: Everything seems to be accelerated in our two-week deployments. In the areas we have seen it looks more like a bomb went off than a flood has swept through. We have several meetings lined up today to discuss bringing in further aid and tents and to secure travel passes from the city to the White Nile area, where we are deploying 1,000 of our boxes.

Wednesday: There is civil unrest overnight because of a political decision to remove a fuel subsidy. We had intended to interview some families, but that changes because foreigners are being evacuated from Khartoum - they have become prime kidnapping targets in the wake of riots. I count at least 12 plumes of smoke rising from buildings, and riot police and military people are racing down the street in front of us. The government has cut off the internet and telecommunications are down. We manage to book outbound flights immediately and head to the airport.

Thursday: We leave in a rush and the day is spent bouncing through airports. From Khartoum to Cairo to Frankfurt and back home to Vancouver, Canada. Thirty hours are spent crossing borders, oceans and continents.

Friday: I wake up early with jet lag. What is an early 3am start in Vancouver was a lazy 1pm start in Sudan. I take care of post-deployment situation reports, start to debrief and get caught up on work that was missed while I was away. It seems surreal to go between situations that feel like polar extremes.

ShelterBox provides people living in disaster areas with a green box containing a tent and other equipment

Richard Loat is a response team member at ShelterBox

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