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Security Brief: EMH2 Week of November 8, 2021

Week of Monday, November 8, 2021 | Issue 35

Alyssa Schmidt, Jade Patel, Benjamin Maher, Chandlyr Mickan, Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards Team

Niger Village[1]

Date: November 8, 2021

Location: Maradi, Niger

Parties involved: Niger residents; National government; United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); Niger emergency response; Educators; Niger President Mohamed Bazoumd; Mayor of Maradi City Chaibou Aboubacar; Students

The event: Three classrooms in Niger caught fire causing at least 26 child fatalities and 13 injured. The classrooms were made out of flammable materials like straw and wood. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.[2]

The implications:

  • The highly flammable straw and wood used to construct the classrooms is likely an ignition source because of the hot weather and other environmental factors. The weakened sustainability of the structure made it very likely that the building could collapse, and likely accelerated the spread and speed of the flames. Many classrooms are built using similar materials and it is very likely a similar event will occur. It is very likely that reparations will be postponed until proper resources are available. Straw and wood are likely to be used again for the classrooms because they are locally sourced and do not rely on machinery for building.

  • The schools will likely be overpopulated because the straw classrooms were used as overflow classrooms. Overpopulated schools will likely make the children more susceptible to the transmission of diseases. Overcrowded classrooms likely made it more difficult for emergency evacuation, contributing to a higher fatality rate. A panic likely occurred due to the high number of people needing to escape simultaneously, making evacuation more difficult.

  • Suspended classes will likely lead to the children falling behind on education. It is likely that the education of the children in the area has already been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Families will likely be required to find alternative child care and are likely to suffer financially. Strains on finances are likely to increase the risk of crime, famine, and poverty. Children will likely seek jobs as opposed to getting an education to alleviate short-term pressures for their family’s financial instability.

  • Smoke inhalation will likely impact the individuals that were involved in the fire. Medications are expensive and people will likely not be able to afford them, likely leading to a need for government assistance. If the smoke inhalation is left untreated it will likely lead to respiratory-related fatalities.

  • Construction safety precautions and emergency response planning will likely be evaluated to ensure increased safety for children. Ongoing political unrest throughout the country is likely to complicate the implementation of reviewed guidelines, increasing the threat of similar incidents in the future. Security and response teams should evaluate guidelines in handling emergencies, as well as communicate with local resources to ensure effective collaboration if necessary. Locations across Niger will likely be vulnerable until there are protections put in place to prevent future disasters.

Date: November 10, 2021

Location: New Delhi, India

Parties involved: New Delhi residents; Local and national government; Cultural centers and temples; Local health service providers; Water supply operations; Environmental agencies

The event: Many Hindu citizens residing in New Delhi, India engaged in dangerous bathing conditions this week in order to celebrate Chhath Puja in the Yamuna river. The river has been contaminated by a mixture of sewage and industrial waste, creating a white froth. Religious practices were not deterred by the froth, increasing the chances of health risks from those who engaged in submerging themselves in the contaminated river.[3]

The implications:

  • The spread of the toxic foam along the river is very likely to impact less developed villages dependent on the Yamuna river without filtering capabilities. If the river remains untreated it is very likely that civilians in rural India will suffer from water-borne illnesses and disease.

  • The Yamuna river contamination is likely to have an ecological effect on wildlife. New Delhi sections of the river already report minimal wildlife and the contamination will likely exacerbate the risk. Villages and communities that rely on the river for sanitary purposes and as a food source will likely be at increased risks of illness and malnutrition. Those affected will likely need to find alternative resources.

  • Water contaminated with sewage and industrial waste is likely to increase risks of respiratory and skin illnesses. India’s health system suffers from a lack of resources and the wide-scale impact of COVID-19, making it very likely that an influx of patients will overwhelm the healthcare system. Civilians who become ill due to the Yamuna river water will likely struggle to find sufficient health services. Insufficient health services will likely increase the risk of long-term effects and struggle for local hospitals to handle increases in admittals.

  • Some religious practices will likely be forfeited by civilians worried about the risks associated with the Yamuna river water. This will likely create divisions between cultural communities as some civilians may seem more devoted than others. Fractures in cultural practices will likely increase the risk of member isolation and violence. It is likely that community leaders will need to raise awareness and attempt to keep peace between members and their differing responses to the Yamuna river contamination.

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________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Niger Village” by etrenard licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Deadly fire ‘decimates’ school in southern Niger, Al Jazeera, November 2021,

[3] Toxic foam coats sacred river in India as Hindu devotees bathe in its waters, CNN, November 2021,



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