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Delta: Beginning life anew for flood victims

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Monday Onyeme and his crew at one of the camps

Delta State government has initiated an Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) Simple Acquisition Skill project to prepare displaced flood victims for life after the Holding Camps.

The office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor Okowa on Girl Child Development/Non-governmental Organizations Liaison, Benedicta Osakunih has announced.

Osakunih, who doubles as supervisor of the Utagba Ogbe Technical College, Kwale and Skill Acquisition Centers, Ashaka, said: “Though the IDPs have lost their farmlands and other sources of income, which apparently is a sign of food security crisis that confronts the country by harvest time, we are giving them Simple Skill Acquisition, they can leverage when they return home to begin life anew.

“To enable them adapt easily to their natural habitat, if we equip a woman with a frying pot, spoons and a firewood stand with some cash to start up, they can begin with that, knowing that women know how to grow the economy. With N200, 000, a lady can start up hairdressing business.”
 
“The camps are in schools. So, for every school in use, their students are having studies somewhere. We also have the ministries of agriculture and transport who provided us with enough Marco Polo buses and speedboats to evacuate those stranded at flooded communities to these camps.

“The Women Affairs and Health ministries provided with health facilities and personnel, with a resident doctor and a nurse to attend to them round the clock. In some cases when the issues are beyond them, they have to use an ambulance, located in each camp, to convey patient(s) to a nearby general hospital or health care center.”

She informed they operate 16 camps, while those who felt so attached to their ancestral homes, and could not move to the camps, even though there communities were flooded, the state converted them into community based camps, and supplied them relief materials and adequate security. We had to resort to this as those at the camps. 

“ Items given included foams, buckets, toilet papers, washing/bathing soaps and izal among other household items. Foodstuffs are also supplied. Another beautiful side of our camps is that we have nutritionists that prepare our feeding timetables”

To make flood victims relaxed, she said: “They don’t just sit by as they go to the market with us, cook with us and we eat with them. At Onneh camp, when NEMA officials came, they thought we were having a party! We keep the place lively.

These are traumatized people, so you don’t add to their challenges. We don’t go there bullying, rather we treat them well and make them happy. It is a job that the governor must be given daily reports. The governor and his wife have been visiting the camps to see for themselves, and såorting issues.

Within the camp, displaced persons are provided with a space for both the primary and secondary education. Some of the teachers also are IPDs. Each child is encouraged with a pack of snacks daily to encourage them.

Osakunih commended Lions Club, Red Cross and other charity groups who have supplied household items for the displaced persons. She appealed to oil companies and other stakeholders in the state to step out and be counted. 

“We appreciate the Lions Club in Delta State. They have done a lot with regular provision of relief materials.  So also is the Red Cross. These two have confounded us with their charity. So also British Oil and Gas that was here with relief material, and several individuals that came here with bags of rice and other food items. For once Deltans have proven to be responsive to the plights of their own.”

When labour starts for pregnant mothers, the ambulance moves them to the nearest General Hospital or Health Center for safe delivery. The boys have to be circumcised for N2000 per person.


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