The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters has been activated three times in the past two days to provide satellite imagery and maps regarding floods in Niger, Senegal and Nigeria. West African nations experience torrential rains during their annual rain season, but this season has been reported as the worst in 50 years.
The Regional Centre for training in Aerospace Surveys was created in 1972 under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) with a mandate for Training, Research, Consultancy and Advisory Services in Geo informatics. Participating countries at the moment are: Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
The AGRHYMET Regional Centre was established in 1974 as a specialized institute of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) composed of nine member States (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal). It is an interstate public institute with a legal status and financial autonomy. It has an international status and is based in Niamey, Niger.
Across 7 West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d?Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Togo) there have been 38 cases of wild polio reported in 2008 and an additional 13 cases so far in 2009. Ministries of Health have collaborated with coordination support by WHO to conduct 2 supplementary and synchronised polio vaccination days for children under 5 years across all 7 countries to prevent futher spread of the disease.
An outbreak of meningitis has occurred in Niger and claimed the lives of vulnerable populations. The most affected districts are located in Southern Western and borders with Burkina Faso where the outbreak has started.