COVID-19: NGO Worries about Spread in IDP Camps

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Uchechukwu Nnaike

The founder of an Abuja-based non-governmental organisation, Oge Pep Empowerment Initiative, Ms. Pepsie Adiukwu, has warned that Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the country could be COVID-19 flash points if not properly managed.

She called on the federal and state governments, as well as public-spirited individuals and well-meaning organisations to assist IDPs with palliatives and protective items.

“The IDPs are among the poorest of the poor. They are living in penury. More should be done for them in the fight against the spread of the deadly virus.

“This means that efforts to flatten the curve of this pandemic may not be realised soon if adequate attention is not paid to these camps.”

Adiukwu added: “We as an NGO, have been doing our best to ensure that these persons are carried along and looked after.

“Recently, a kind-hearted philanthropist, Mr. Terhemen King Michael, partnered with us in reaching out to one of such camps, the New Kuchingoro IDP Camp in Abuja, where he shared over N250,000 among the displaced persons.
“Such a gesture saw more than 200 displaced persons receiving cash donations from the philanthropist; hence, the need for more,” she said.

Adiukwu noted that IDPs left their homes as a result of violence and are staying in clustered makeahift shelters, which negate the principle of social distancing.

She said the organisation had contracted a seamstress who resides in the camp to produce face masks for members of the community.

“We understand the need to be safe and protect ourselves and others from coronavirus and to adhere strictly to preventive measures.

“This informed our decision to provide face masks for the IDPs at New Kuchingoro. Given the urgent need for prevention against the COVID-19, we call on governments to come to the aid of IDPs and other vulnerable people in our society.

“We also call on philanthropists to join us in upholding the values we hold dear: charity, justice and being our brothers’ keepers,” she said.