Aboard a helicopter operated by UNHAS, colleagues of the humanitarian community travelled from Maiduguri, the main humanitarian response hub, to Damasak. A combination of poor road conditions and insecurity in this part of Nigeria makes it difficult to reach by other means.

The one-day mission – which also focused on the ongoing common storage site preparation – included representatives from the International Humanitarian Partnership/Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (IHP/MSB), the Emergency Telecommunications Sector (ETS), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Logistics Sector. The mission was led by IHP/MSB who is responsible for some of the key functions in the overall Humanitarian Hubs project implementation in Borno state.

The mission team carried out the Humanitarian Hub assessment, observing the good progress of the construction work and estimating that the site should become operational on 1 March 2018. The Humanitarian Hubs project is managed by IOM and as of December 2017, five hubs are now operational in Maiduguri, Dikwa, Bama, Gwoza and Ngala, while another four are underway in Monguno, Banki, Damasak and Rann.

As these hubs offer safe and secure accommodation and internet connectivity to aid workers in remote locations, they are also critical in facilitating dispatch of relief items to their destination. Therefore, the Logistics Sector has teamed up with IOM and IHP/MSB staff to setup common storage sites adjacent to the hubs for use by the humanitarian community.

This is how Tina Pettersson, the IHP/MSB team leader who has been part of the project since late April 2017, explains the importance of these missions: ‘’It is crucial not only to agree on the project proposal, but also jointly check if its implementation goes according to the plan and if any amendments are needed along the way. This is why conducting assessment missions together with our partners is crucial to the success of the Humanitarian Hubs project in Northeast Nigeria.’’ Tina adds: "Today we are working together as one unit heading towards a common goal. We work more actively in creating a common picture of the situation out in the field by joint assessments and that allows all of us to identify bottlenecks and gaps early enough to have a chance to mitigate them. All activities of the contributing partners, and IOM as the receiving partner, are very linked to each other and small errors can have big consequences and delay the opening of a Humanitarian Hub. All in all, the joint team is very competent and there is a good mix of coordination experts and technically skilled staff and that is mandatory to succeed in this context."

The future common storage site in Damasak will consist of two Mobile Storage Units (640 m2) and will be managed by ACTED on behalf of the Logistics Sector.

The Logistics Sector is working to establish and maintain additional common storage facilities in key locations based on the operational needs of partners. To date, four common storage facilities have been established: in Maiduguri, Monguno, Banki and Ngala, managed by Premiere Urgence Internationale, Solidarites International, INTERSOS and eHealth Africa respectively, facilitating a storage space of 4,860 m2 in total.