Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The Federal government has commenced rebuilding tents burnt following fire outbreak which affected about 9,000 people at a camp for displaced persons in Borno State.
The Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, told journalists in a Maiduguri on Thursday shortly after visiting the site of the burnt IDPs camp at Monguno, Borno northern that President Mohammadu Buhari had asked the agency to find out the extent of destruction at the IDPs camp at Monguno razed by fire two weeks ago.
“The president wishes to know precisely what happened and the quantum of destruction and that was why I visited the place again. It was a very devastating incident,” Maihaja said. He disclosed that about 9,000 IDPs in the camp were affected with 402 reinforced shelters and 933 make-shift tents destroyed.
He said NEMA had mobilised 158 tents to Monguno with its staff already rebuilding the IDPs camp. “Our men are already distributing the tents, it is quite unfortunate that the incident occurred but as a responsible government, we felt we needed to respond adequately to the situation,” he said.
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He disclosed that he met the traditional leaders (Bulama) of the affected IDPs to identify families and people under them for effective distributions of relief and allocation of the tents. He said the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) was also collaborating with the agency to rebuild the camp and ease the suffering of the displaced persons.
He said the new tents for the IDPs could last for some time unlike the previous one. He, however, said all emergency and relief organisations had learnt specific lessons from the incident, noting that the cooking facilities of the displaced persons in the camp were responsible for the outbreak.
“The IDPs were cooking very close to the tent and this is not good for such populated environment. We’ve taken note of this situation and we need to review this especially as the hot season sets in,” he said.
He said the Federal government had developed prototype houses for the displaced persons to accommodate a family of six, adding that the implementation of the plan would start as soon as the situation improves at the camp. At least three persons were killed and scores injured following a recent fire outbreak in an IDPs camp in Monguno, Borno State.