David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
Stakeholders in Anambra State have expressed fear on the likely outbreak of diseases in communities affected by flood, as displaced persons return to their homes.
Members of various communities in Awka North, one of the affected local government areas of the state, stated this during a meeting of UNICEF officials with stakeholders of flood-affected areas for the implementation of the post-flood intervention.
Enugu Field Office WASH Specialist, Mr. Timi Kiabuku, who led UNICEF officials to the meeting, said: “The ongoing UNICEF response to the Anambra State flood emergency is with funding from United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and UNICEF’s response will focus on three sectors, child protection, health and WASH.”
Also, the WASH Consultant (Enugu office), Mr. Andy Nwanze, in his address said it organised the meeting to see how the organisation can support those affected by the 2022 flood, especially now that the flood have receded and the victims are going back to their homes.
According to him, “We are here to find out what happened during the flood, and how we can intervene, to ameliorate the sufferings of the people.
“What we learnt was that everything has collapsed, including residences, schools, hospitals and others, but we are more concerned about the contamination that their water has undergone, and the outbreak of any diseases and how such can be prevented.
“All the water sources are now contaminated and as we continue to condemn open defecation, as flood has moved everything into the homes of those who have proper toilets and brought out their wastes.
“Next week, we will begin to visit communities and quantify the loss, and also provide funds and how it can be spent.”
Stakeholders in the area, Chairman of Awka North Local Government Area, Mr. Emmanuel Ucheze; Chairman, Primary Health Development Agency, Dr. Chioma Ezenyimulu; Executive Secretary of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Paul Odenigbo, and many others recounted the sufferings of the people during the disaster.
The council Chairman, Ucheze, said: “I thank UNICEF for coming to our aid. What we witnessed in this local government area during the period of the disaster is something we have never witnessed before-since I was born.
“We are happy that you have come to intervene, and we are also appealing to other bodies to see what they can do to help our people. The flood has receded, and our people have gone back to the community, but some do not know where to start because they have lost everything.”
On his own, Ezenyimulu added that: “We are concerned about children and their health. We just started measles vaccination to help protect children against disease. As the flood is receding and people are going back to their homes, we are worried about the likely outbreak of diseases. We have started vaccinating the people against Rota Virus to ensure that people remain healthy.”