By Ndidi Chukwu
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has said that women and children contribute 75 percent of the over 1, 491,706 Internally Displaced Persons, reported to be in Nigeria by, National Emergency Management Agency and suffer more from the displacement crisis currently facing the country.
UNHCR Regional Representative for West Africa, Liz Kpam Ahua told a press conference in Abuja, Tuesday that the women and children have had challenging times in the camps. The UNHCR boss said her one-on-one meeting with the IDPs has given a clear indication of what their challenges are and called for more support from all stakeholders to meet the needs of the IDPs.
After a visit to some security challenged West African Countries, Ahua concludes that Women and Children in IPD camps in Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad are in a traumatising situation which requires immediate intervention to get them back to their homes. She observed poor sanitation, lack of toilets, poor access to clean water, and proper diets as major challenges which she said could lead to child killer disease outbreaks like cholera, malnutrition, and maternal mortality if not quickly addressed.
The UNHCR had early this month, handed over some relief items to Internally Displaced PERSONS (IDPs) in Lafia, Nasarawa State Capital, after an inter-sector Working Group Meeting it had in Nasarawa State with some government-led position on a joint humanitarian assessment mission to communities newly recovered from insurgents in Yobe, and Admamwa States.
Ahua said the outcome of the meeting was to strengthen coordination and how to achieve synergy between Federal and State Government led intervention to the IDPS.
“already the Nigerian Government has begun assessment of territories destroyed by insurgents during their siege, especially on the Northeast States of Adamawa, Borno Aand Yobe, in a bid to be informed on action to be taken to rehabilitate and reconstruct the affected territories and to allow for the return of the IDPs” Ahua said. She also added that IDPs find it difficult to return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods due to security reports that most of the roads and streets leading to the affected communities and farmlands are not safe due to suspected undiffused landmines.
In helping Nigeria to deal with the displacement crisis at hand, Ahua said the UNHCR is assisting Yobe and Borno State Management Agencies (SEMA) in terms of shelter/NFIs, as well as technical support in the management of formal IDP camps.