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UN prepares emergency response for IDPs in North East

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The United Nations has begun preparation for emergency response to the most vulnerable people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

The measures also address immediate humanitarian consequences of the pandemic, should it spread to north-east Nigeria.

“We will not wait for COVID-19 to reach camps for Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) before we act. They have already suffered enough from the decade-long conflict, and our priority is to ensure the continuous delivery of life-saving assistance, especially health services, to the most vulnerable women, children and the elderly who need special attention,” said United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon.

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“More than ever, it is crucial for vulnerable people to have access to not only water, soap, shelter, but also food, education and protection.”

Mr. Kallon noted that the UN in Nigeria was supporting the governments of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states in developing emergency response plans that take the reality of the living conditions in many communities and IDP camps into account and include specific mitigation measures, particularly in over-crowded camps and camp-like settings where the risk of outbreaks is higher.

According to him, the UN and its humanitarian partners are actively involved in Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) in IDP sites across the BAY states in support of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Key activities are being implemented jointly in the IDP camps, guided by global guidance on COVID-19 Outbreak Preparedness and Response.

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“Humanitarian partners are installing hand-washing stations in IDP camps and ensuring supply of clean water. Partners are also distributing soap and teaching women how to produce their own,” Kallon explained.

The UN is also planning to bring in vital health equipment to prevent and treat the respiratory virus, which is now affecting over 12 states across Nigeria, with 135 cases recorded as at press time yesterday.

The UN has developed awareness-raising and prevention messages, leaflets, posters, animations and videos specific for IDPs and other vulnerable people in the North East. In partnership with major TV and radio channels, it has launched sensitisation campaigns across various Nigerian states, reaching millions of Nigerians.

It is also launching a survey tool with the Network of People Living with HIV (NEPWHAN) to gather specific and arising challenges for people living with HIV on continuous access to quality treatment, care and support in the midst of the response to COVID-19.

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