As Benue State government begins gradual closure of the Internally Displaced Persons’ Camp in Makurdi, United Nations High Commission for Refugees has donated items worth over N18 million to flood victims.
Items donated include lanterns, soap, detergent, blankets, mosquito nets, drugs, and mattresses.
Head of Benue UNHCR office, Mr. Samuel Agwa, said 70 percent of the relief materials would be distributed to those who were badly affected but could not be accommodated at the designated camps, while the remaining 30 percent would go to victims at the various camps.
“We worked with the SEMA and NGOs and came out with an acceptable formula on how to share the relief materials to the victims."
“The items are going to Camp C. Camp ‘C’ are those victims who never found themselves in any of the camps. We have sent SMS to those whose data we collected, and within 72 hours of the closure of the camps, the targeted beneficiaries can come to collect what is meant for them.”
Mr. Agwa disclosed that UNHCR officials, in collaboration with NGOs and State Emergency Management Agency, collated data from the areas worst hit by the flood to select the beneficiaries from over 500 households.
The initiative, according to him, is aimed at alleviating hunger, pain, and suffering of as many families affected by the flood.
Receiving the relief materials, the state deputy governor and chairman, relief materials committee, Engr. Benson Abounu, commended the partnership with the UNHCR, which donated materials to the IDPs across the state.
Abounu stated that the international agency had been one of the dependable platforms for the state, whose contributions in the area of capacity building, direct material support, and other governance initiatives can never be forgotten in a hurry.
He said the state government has not officially closed the various IDPs camps, stressing that nobody has the capacity to do so except the governor who ordered the setting up of the various camps.
”All we are doing is that we are putting in place the process of decampment, but have not yet decamped anybody. When we are ready, there would be a symbolic decamping ceremony. We are just garnering the necessary process that will lead to decamping."
”The camps cannot be closed now because of those whose houses were brought down by the flood. If you close other camps now, where would those go to?"
“Government needs to intervene in such cases before they can go back to their houses so that life can be a little bit comfortable for them.”