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Flooding: US Commits $1m Emergency Humanitarian Assistance for Victims in Nigeria
*NEMA distributes relief materials in Ondo
*NUJ call for suspension of political campaigns in South-south
Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja, Fidelis David in Akure and Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa
The United States, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing $1 million in immediate humanitarian assistance to support the people affected by unprecedented flooding in Nigeria.
The US embassy, in a statement yesterday, explained that the unusual heavy rainfall, which resulted in flooding, had affected nearly 2.8 million people across the country. It added that many homes had been damaged or completely destroyed, displacing millions of persons.
The US government stressed that the $1 million in new USAID support would allow local partners on the ground to provide emergency shelter assistance, relief commodities, and hygiene kits to promote safe and healthy practices amid the on-going cholera outbreak and multipurpose cash assistance for people affected by the devastating floods.
It stated, “The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing $1 million in immediate humanitarian assistance to support the people affected by unprecedented flooding in Nigeria.”
The US government lamented that floods had exacerbated an already critical humanitarian situation in Nigeria, where on-going conflict, especially in the northern region, had driven millions of people from their homes.
The statement added, “In the same region, more than four million people are projected to continue experiencing acute food insecurity amid the worsening global food crisis.”
The US expressed concern that standing floodwaters could increase the risk of cholera and other waterborne diseases in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states, where cholera outbreaks were declared in August and September, with 7,750 cases recorded.
It stated in 2022, 31 out of 36 states reported cholera cases.
The statement quoted the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, to have said the United States continued to stand with the people of Nigeria during this extremely difficult time.
“We are filled with grief for the flood victims who have lost so much – livelihoods, homes, and even loved ones,” Leonard said.
As experts expect heavy rainfall and flooding to continue through November, due in part to climate change and insufficient drainage infrastructure, the US government said USAID disaster experts would continue monitoring the situation in close coordination with humanitarian partners and the federal government to assess needs and determine if additional assistance is required.
It said in 2022, USAID provided more than $356 million in humanitarian assistance to people most affected by conflict and food insecurity in Nigeria.
It stressed that this life-saving assistance was in addition to USAID’s annual $539 million development budget for Nigeria that supports economic growth, health, democratic governance, and education.
NEMA Distributes Relief Materials to Flood Victims in Ondo
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), yesterday, distributed relief materials worth millions of naira to support persons affected by the 2022 flood disaster in Ondo state.
Distributing the materials in Akure, the state capital, the Director-General of the agency, Mr. Ahmed Habib, said the items included the president’s special intervention involving release of assorted grains from silos.
Habib said the quantity of grains approved for the state included 2,100 bags of 50kg maize; 1,774 bags of 50kg sorghum; 3,948 bags of 25kg garri; 1,000 bags of 10kg rice; 1,000 bags of 10kg beans; 1,000 bags of 10kg maize; 75 bags of 20kg salt; 75 kegs of vegetable oil (20ltrs); 150 cartons of seasoning cubes and 75 cartons of tin tomato.
Ahmed, represented by the Director, Special Duties NEMA, Dr. Bamidele Onimode said, “The non-food items comprise 7,350 pieces of nylon mats; 1,000 pieces of treated mosquito nets; 600 cartons of bath soap; 2,500 pieces of guinea brocade (5 yards); 1,000 pieces of children’s wear; 1,000 pieces of women’s wear and 1,000 pieces of men’s wear.
“These items have been delivered to the state government to assist the most vulnerable groups. The grains will be distributed directly to the deserving persons in collaboration with the state government, senators from the state and the minister representing Ondo State.
“We all agree that in the last couple of weeks, several states of the federation, including Ondo State, have suffered widespread flood disasters, which unfortunately have resulted in loss of lives, human displacement, loss of means of livelihoods and socio-economic dislocation.
“The current global economic meltdown and pre-harvest food shortages have further exposed the vulnerability of the affected population.”
The NEMA DG noted that the Ekiti operations office of NEMA had continuously worked with critical stakeholders, including the state Ministries of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, Ondo State Emergency Management Agency (OnSEMA), Ondo State Fire Service, among others, to respond and conduct damage and loss assessments to guide relief intervention to persons in need of support in the state.
He said the result of the assessment indicated that about 5,235 households were affected by the floods, several houses destroyed, while cultivated hectares of farmlands were submerged.
He stated, “The assessments reports were forwarded to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development following which President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of 12,000 metric tons of assorted grains from the National Strategic Reserve Stock for distribution to all states of the Federation and the FCT.”
In his remarks, Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, commended the federal government and NEMA for coming to the rescue of the victims in the state, saying the gesture would assist victims affected by ravaging flood in 2022. Aiyedatiwa promised proper and timely distribution of the items.
Aiyedatiwa, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Idowu Ojo, said the relief intervention indicated that the federal government, through NEMA, was always concerned about the welfare and well-being of the people of the state.
NUJ Calls for Suspension of Political Campaigns in South-south
Following the humanitarian crisis occasioned by the on-going flooding of the coastal regions of the country, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Zone F (South-south) called for the suspension of all political activities in states of the South-south geopolitical zone for two weeks. A statement by the vice president, Zone F (NUJ), Opaka Dokubo, and zonal secretary, John Angese, said this would allow for concentration of attention in harnessing efforts and resources needed to bring succour to the suffering masses.
The South-south zone of the NUJ described as inadequate relief efforts so far given to the affected states and local governments in the region by the federal government.
The statement said while the zonal leadership of the NUJ acknowledged and appreciated efforts being made by governments at the sub-national level in the region to address the catastrophe, the federal government should urgently deploy disaster containment and management architecture to the region to save the lives of Nigerians.
NUJ said it was an indication of insensitivity to the plight of the people of the region for politicians to continue to engage in exuberant political activities within and outside the geo-political zone while the people whom they were jostling to govern faced such dire conditions occasioned by the floods.
The statement said it was unacceptable that in the midst of plenty, the flood victims should beg just stay alive for a few days, as they now slept and wake up in open spaces without food and other essential daily needs.
The union urged the various state governments in the region to rise to the challenge of providing needed leadership in harnessing and effectively coordinating efforts and making meaningful intervention to contain the situation.
NUJ called on all elected and appointed functionaries of government at all levels to return and stay home and lead the charge, while it entreated all political parties, their candidates and supporters to synergise and forge a common front by toning down their activities and pooling efforts and resources to save the lives and livelihoods of the people they were aspiring to serve.
The statement appealed to non-governmental organisations and agencies, including multinationals and other corporate bodies, religious organisations and public-spirited individuals and groups, to volunteer critically needed assistance and support to help save lives in the region.