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Published On: Tue, Mar 20th, 2018

Benue emergency agency, Red Cross disagree on IDP camps death toll

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From Uche Nnorom Makurdi

More than 120 births and eight deaths have so far been recorded in Internally Displaced Persons,IDPs, camp in Benue State.
Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency, Emmanuel Shior disclosed while speaking with newsmen in Umenger, Guma local government during a tour by Governor Samuel Ortom to the area.
He said the agency is grappling with increasing influx of internally displaced persons, regretting the lack of essential facilities to cater for the needs of the people.
However, Red Cross officials in the State put the death figure at 15, intimating that nine deaths were recorded at Abagana camp, 1 each at LGEA and United Nations High Commission for Refugee camp and four(4) at the LGEA camp in Gbajimba, all located in Guma Local government area.
Our reporter who also, spoke to Head of medical teams in the camp in
Abagena Mrs. Grace Kon, Mrs. Priscilla Tser in LGEA and Mrs. Emmanuella Sokpo at the United Nations High Commission for Refugee camp all located in Daudu, described the sanitary condition as ‘appalling’.
They said majority of the people suffer from diarrhea, vomiting and toilet infection, lamenting that this is caused by lack of hygienic water.
“Over 950 patients have been treated with 32 referred to Benue State Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Center, Makurdi. We lack beds, equipment and instruments to treat the sick ones. Most times, they lie on bare ground to receive medical attention. Some good spirited individuals and organizations have made donations of relief materials but they are grossly insufficient because of the large population of the internally displaced persons”, Grace lamented.
Speaking with journalists, Governor Samuel Ortom explained that the tour is meant to give the people hope and assurance that government is working hard to ensure the resolution of the crisis so that they can return to their homes.
He appealed to the federal government as well as security agencies in the country to work assiduously towards restoration of peace in the affected areas so that the internally displaced persons can return their homes.
“The children in these camps could be mine, those of the President, Chief of Army Staff or even the Inspector General of Police. They should remember that there is God. When I, the President or security agencies may have failed, God will not fail. He will arise and give us justice”, Ortom said.
He reiterated appeals to the Federal government to upgrade the Exercise Ayem A’ Kpatema to an operation and deployed more troops to the State.
It should be noted that there are 170,000 internally displaced persons in eight camps in the state.

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