The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has scaled up its humanitarian response by providing food security and livelihood initiative in violence affected communities in the country.
Mrs Aleksandra Mosimann, Communications Coordinator, ICRC, disclosed this in a statement, on Thursday in Abuja.
According to Mosimann, ICRC in partnership with Nigeria Red Cross (NRCS) has helped to increase its emergency response capability, training, and equipping volunteers to provide aid to victims and displaced persons.
She said the association was concerned on the heightened communal violence that eclipsed states like Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba between January and June.
“Civilians were injured, killed and thousands of families have been forced to flee their homes, now living in host communities and makeshift camps.
“The violence have also disrupted their ability to farm and earn a living, while herders lost many of their livestock to violence leaving many to depend on humanitarian assistance.
“In the north-east where armed conflict is now in its ninth year, violence continues to claim civilian lives and destroy properties, displaced persons still live in crowded camps depending on humanitarian assistance,’’ she said.
Mosimann noted that ICRC in partnership with NRCS provided emergency assistance and means to strengthen their coping mechanism, restore livelihoods and family links broken by conflict.
She highlighted some of the interventions to include, providing emergency relief aid and restoring livelihood, facilitating access to clean water and shelter, enabling access to healthcare, restoring family links among others.
“ 490,000 persons in the north-east and north-central received food rations, out of which 288,000 persons received improved seeds to enhance their farm yields.
“180,000 persons in the north-east, north central and southern regions were assisted with cash or commodity voucher donations to help cover their multipurpose household needs and to resume food production.
“310,000 displaced, returnees and host communities in the north-east region received improved seeds, irrigation machinery and tools to assist with farming activities, among others,’’ Mosimann said.
She said with continued displacement in the north-east, north-central and southern states, poor hygiene and lack of clean water could lead to breakout of deadly diseases if the needed intervention was not taken.
Mosimann explained that about 213,000 displaced persons improved their access to clean water through installation of water supply system, including solar systems and hand pumps.
She also said 93,000 people in north-east received support to improve the hygiene and sanitation of their persons and environment, while 20,000 people in Borno and Yobe received materials to rebuild their houses.
According to her, protracted armed conflict has made access to healthcare difficult in various parts of the north-east with many healthcare facilities destroyed as health workers also fled for safety.
She said ICRC provided infrastructure rehabilitation, systematic supply of medicines, provided expertise and technical support for the identification and treatment of diseases with expanded community based nutrition and reproductive health.
“No fewer than 243,000 patients attended 21 ICRC supported primary health care centres with two mobile clinics serving the displaced, returnees and residence in north-east, north-central and southern states.
“11,600 children were delivered in ICRC supported clinics, about 5,370 children less than five years treated of acute malnutrition, over 3,070 surgical procedures were performed by ICRC surgical teams.
“4,000 people were provided with mental health and psychological support while 9,720 causalities were treated and evacuated by the NRCS emergency first aid teams among others,’’ she said.
Mosimann said the ICRC disseminates International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and principles aimed at preserving humanity and reducing the impact of armed conflict on persons affected.
She said 2,820 officers of armed forces, police and security forces were trained on the principles IHL in 11 states.
Mosimann added that no fewer than 700 teachers and students of IHL received information and support for teaching, research and study of IHL in institutions of higher education across the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that ICRC is an independent and neutral organisation ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence.
It also takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.