By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA- THIS year’s flood disaster ravaging many communities in parts of the country had forced most of the affected families to move into Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camps prepared by the state governments.
In Anambra State, for instance, such camps were built in Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ogbaru, Onitsha North and South and Ihiala, which were the most affected areas.
Last week, the wife of the Anambra State governor, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano visited some of the camps, during which she came face to face with the hardship being encountered by the victims. Among the places she visited were IDPs at Ogbaru and Anambra East local government areas. At the Ogbaru holding centre, she called for a minute of silence for the repose of the soul of Master Benedict Uzoh, a nine-year-old boy, who got drowned in the flood while fetching water.
The governor’s wife went with a large entourage that included the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Rita Maduagwu, member representing Orumba South in the State House of Assembly, Princess Nikky Ugochukwu, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha and that of Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Mr. Afam Mbanefo.
Mrs. Obiano, who is the founder of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, apparently not happy with what she saw, called for adequate medical and food support to the inmates, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers and children at the various holding centres.
At the Ogbaru Local Government Area headquarters at Atani and St. Joseph Memorial Secondary School, Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area holding centres, she advised those in charge to ensure that the flood victims were properly catered for.
Mrs. Obiano, on arrival, was taken round the facilities at the centres by the Transition Chairmen of the respective local government areas and officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to ascertain the general living condition of the people. It was after going round that she implored the managers of the centres to give special attention to the food and medical needs of the affected persons.
Though it was obvious that she was not particularly happy with the situation on ground, she said: “I thank you all for your efforts to safe-guard these brothers and sisters, but I am making a case for pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers and children. We must make sure that they are fed and at the right time until the water recedes and they are able to go back home.”
She also reminded the victims that their present condition would not last forever, adding that with signs that the flood would soon start receding, they would soon return to their homes.
She later presented relief materials meant for the IDPs to the officials, with advice that it is morally obligatory to lend a hand of solidarity to people hit by the tragedies of nature. She also urged the affected persons to bear what they were facing with fortitude, just as she told the caretakers of the centres to ensure that the relief materials were evenly and judiciously distributed to only the people that needed them.
Among the relief materials she presented to the affected persons were mattresses, mosquito nets, packs of toilet tissues and baby diapers, cartons of tin tomatoes, detergents, soaps and beverages. Other items included bags of rice, bags of beans, bags of garri and bags of cooking salt, gallons of red and groundnut oil, towels, fruits, snacks, and water.
Speaking on the health situation at the IDP centres, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, said the Ministry of Health was supplementing efforts of other agencies by ensuring adequate health provisions in the holding centres, which, he observed, was why there had not been any major health challenge at the centres.