The National Emergency Management Agency said it had established 11 Internally Displaced Camps for the 100,000 Displaced Persons from eight crisis-ridden local governments in Benue State.
The NEMA Coordinator for North-Central Zone, Mr Mohammed Abdulsalam, made the disclosure in Jos. He said each camp has a minimum of 8,500 internally Disclosed Persons (IDPs).
e said: “The camps are just too populated and we are thinking of establishing more because more people are trooping into Makurdi from even the areas that have not been attacked. People trek tens of kilometers in rural areas with children and loads on their heads to nowhere in particularly because of the fear of the unknown. The people said that the attackers pounce on them without any notice, so, it is better for them to relocate to Makurdi.”
Abdulsalam said facilities at the camps had been over-stretched, but explained that NEMA was building additional toilets and bathrooms to improve on the sanitary conditions at the camps.
He added that: “We are also providing more overhead tankers to ensure sufficient potable water and minimise health hazards, especially epidemics like cholera.”
The NEMA official said the headquarters had already released additional ambulances that were fully-equipped with facilities and drugs to cater for the health needs of the IDPs.
He noted that many women had put to bed at the camps, adding that three women gave birth on the same day.
“What we have done is to put the women on a special diet to enable them to take good care of the babies; we have also established a special place for them to minimise distractions from others in case they need some rest,” he said.
The coordinator said NEMA had also provided mosquito nets to ward off mosquito bites that may lead to malaria, stressing that the IDPS had been advised to keep the windows of the classes open while asleep to guard against cerebrospinal meningitis.
On feeding, he said that the kitchen was being re-stocked with more foodstuffs, while thousands of mattresses had been purchased.
The official said NEMA had also purchased wrappers, children’s wears and brocades for the IDPs, and regretted that many survived with just the clothes they had on their backs.
On security in the camps, he said NEMA had engaged retired servicemen and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps personnel to secure the camps.
He thanked religious organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, as well as concerned individuals for their support toward assisting the IDPs and called for more of such show of affection.
“Besides, some men have more than one wife, so if you share the food through men, you may not be fair to those that have large families,” he said.
The agency has also rehabilitated over 250,000 displaced persons in the Northeastern region of the country due to the insurgency in the area.
Speaking in Maiduguri while giving relief materials to people recently displaced from various communities in Borno State, the Northeastern coordinator of the agency, Alhaji Mohammed Kanar, said relocating the displaced persons back to their homes can only be done when the crisis becomes fully over and the security of the people guaranteed.
He said, “Even if the agency was ready to build the razed buildings and resettle the people back, it was going to be hard to convince the people to stay as they would likely be afraid of renewed attacks.”
Kanar, while assuring the displaced persons that the agency was ready to continue to make relief materials available to them said the agency had attended to more than 200,000 persons of the total 250,000 persons displaced in the troubled region.
Kanar explained that 2,800 persons would be attended to during the flag off of direct distribution of relief materials in Maiduguri from the targeted 6,000 persons in the town.
He said, “Those to be attended to are displaced residents of Mafa, Konduga, Bama, Jakana, Alajari, Mainok, Sandiya, Yasku, Kuruk, Maiwa, Kawuri and Malari areas of the state who are presently sheltered at facilities in Maiduguri or living with relatives or friends within the town.”