From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Saturday, said that more than 600 people died and about 1.3 million more displaced during this year’s flooding which ravaged many parts of Nigeria.
It said that the figure was according to the government’s data on that ugly development that affected 34 out of the 36 states of the federation.
Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Enugu, Mrs Juliet Chiluwe, stated this during the official handover of supplies for Anambra State Flood Response from UNICEF to the state government in Awka, the state capital.
The first set of supplies which were handed over to the governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, represented by his deputy, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, were: 100 drums of chlorine for disinfection of water sources, 40 cartons of Aquatabs for household water treatment and 320 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).
Chiluwe, while sympathising with the government and people of Anambra, lamented that the flooding mostly affected the women and children more than others because of their vulnerability.
“We acknowledged that since September 2022, the worst floods in a decade affected 2.8 million people, of which an estimated 60 per cent are children, across 34 of the 36 states in Nigeria.
“Of those affected, 1.3 million people have been displaced, and over 600 people have died in relation to flooding according to government data.
“Continuous heavy rains have collapsed hundreds of public health facilities, water systems and sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and malaria.
“To contribute to the effort of government and other development partners, UNICEF, with funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), has initiated a multisectoral response comprising Health, Child Protection and WASH sectors, to mitigate the impact of the floods support the early recovery-phase of the affected population in Anambra State.
“For Child Protection, the response will focus on protection concerns in three key areas: the provision of psychosocial support for flood-affected children, the prevention of family separation and the reunification of separated and unaccompanied children, as well as the strengthening of community-based protection systems related to GBV.
“For Health, the response will focus on emergency primary health care services to address waterborne and vaccine-preventable childhood diseases by ensuring continued access to health services via mobile brigades, prepositioning essential medicines and supplies, support the restoration of basic health services and improving health-seeking behaviours through community engagement.
“For WASH the response will focus on the distribution of critical WASH supplies. The provision of essential services, including water system rehabilitation, rehabilitation and desludging of sanitation facilities in schools and PHCs, and conducting hygiene promotion campaigns.
“As part of the response, UNICEF is making available essential medicines and health supplies, sexual reproductive kit, chlorine for disinfection of water sources in health centres, schools and communities.
“Rapid Water Quality Testing kits: Bacteriological H2S Field Test Kit, lifesaving essential WASH Cholera and Menstrual Hygiene Management Kits, Water Guard Solution/Sachets for household water treatment, and Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF)”, Chiluwe said.
Responding, Soludo commended UNICEF for its kind gesture saying that the state government was also taking necessary steps to meet the basic needs of the affected people.