The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF has donated over 10,000 water treatment tablets to the camps opened for persons displaced by the recent flood disaster in Makurdi, the Benue state capital and its environ.
The UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Enugu, Mr. Ibrahim Conteh who made this known shortly after visiting the displaced person in the camp located at the Makurdi International Market said the world body had already put machinery in motion to avail the victims more support. Conteh said, “We have visited the flooded locations and we have seen the magnitude of the disaster. And at the moment, according to the available records, about 5,000 person are already in the displaced persons camps. “The good thing is that the state government reacted very quickly and lots of goodwill is being shown to the victims. “We have already spoke to the camp management and they complained of the need for security in the camp. They also talked of the need for improved medical attention and sleeping materials. “They had raised the issue of electricity in camp. We also saw the need for more mosquito nets. “Already UNICEF has provided 10,000 aqua-tablets for the treatment of water for the victims. Moreover other United Nations organizations are doing a lot and are they prepared to do more. “Suffice it to state here that we are in contact with our partners to see how we can scale up intervention in the camp as well. “I must also state that we are pleased to note that the camp management had devised a coordinated management in handling matters in this location and we must commend them for that.” Receiving the UNICEF team earlier, the Chairperson, Emergency Response Team of the Benue Non Governmental Orgsnisation Network, BENGONET, Mrs. Helen Teghtegh, said the organisation had commenced the sensitization of the people to ensure that they abided by the rules in camp in order to remain safe. She said some nurses had already volunteer to help in providing first aid treatment for victims while more hands were being mobilized to assist the victims. Mrs. Teghtegh disclosed further that a major challenge in the camp was the lack of cooking utensils to prepare the raw food supplied by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, for the displaced persons. “We also have a challenge of available portable water and that of lack of enough toilet facilities especially for women in the camp. “Our fear is that we might be face with the issue of open defecation and its attendant health consequences. “Despite these challenges however, we have a coordinated approach to the issue with a well organised management team that are on ground to ensure that the issues in the camp are properly handled. On his part, the Seniour Special Assistant to the State Governor on State Emergency, Mr. Vincent Tsea told the UNICEF team that more families were coming into the camp as the rains persisted. He regretted that before the devastation, the government had embarked on sensitization of the people on the impending floods but Makurdi residents failed to heed the warning of the government. “People kept building on water ways despite being warned of the implications, that is why we have this situation at the moment.” He said he had received information that a child lost his life in Konshisha Local government Area while two others survived and were recuperating in hospital adding that a detailed information on the death was yet to be received by his office. “We also have information that another woman had her housed collapse on her. She was said to have sustained serious injuries in the accident.” He said. The visit of the UNICEF team coincided with the visit of Governor Samuel Ortom to the displaced persons camp. Addressing the victims, Governor Ortom assured of his administration’s determination to ensure that all the affected persons were availed minimum comfort. Speaking further the Governor said, “we will also ensure that all the relief materials are channelled to the displaced persons. Everything will be transparently handled and distributed. Ortom urged the people of the state to offer assistance to the affected persons saying, “no matter how little it will go a long way to assist. “On our part as a government we will take steps to ensure that this type of disaster did not happen again in our state. “All we need at the moment is assistance from public spirited individuals, Non a Governmental Organisations, NGOs, and the international organisations to help us overcome the challenge.” The Governor also appealed to all those who built or lived on water ways or floodplain to vacated such places in their own interest in order not to be caught unawares as was the last case. The UNICEF team visited several flooded areas in the state including Karmem 3, Behind State Civil Service Commission and Achusa communities to assess the level of devastation.