FLOOD VICTIMS: Utomi calls for focus on post camp strategy
The challenging health conditions in areas affected by the flood disaster should be the critical emphasis of policy makers as the floods begin to recede.
This was the call made by the founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), Prof. Pat Utomi, at the presentation of relief materials to officials of Delta State Government at St Patrick’s College, at the Asaba camp for displaced persons.
He noted that houses that have been inundated for so long tend to incubate the growth of fungus and other parasites that can later result in lung diseases.
Presenting the materials that included mattresses, food items, bottled water, clothing and toys for children, Prof Utomi told the camp commandant that he believed the displaced persons should stay in the camp until their houses and neighborhoods have been fumigated, citing rampant cases of snake bites, mosquito aggressiveness and epidemics possible from the decaying bodies of drowned animals.
He reminded state governments that the floods are not gone forever, as he urged them to be proactive in helping the flood victims.
Prof Utomi called for an improvement in the resourcing of the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), to improve emergency response capacity so that Nigerians do not suffer needlessly.
He revealed that the three part CVL flood relief support which included immediate relief; medical missions; and housing rehabilitation assistance will see CVL partnering with faith based agencies for service delivery.
On another visit to flood victims in Onitsha, the former presidential aspirant presented another truck load of materials at the Basilica of the Holy Trinity for distribution through the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha.
He also stated that CVL will also work with the Lutheran Church in Adamawa state, the Anglican Church in Delta and the Catholic Church in most of the states to reach the needy.
The CVL founder also lamented the failure of the media to focus on the extent of the disaster which he said exceeded Hurricane Katrina which hit New Orleans, in terms of human misery, number of the displaced persons and those who lost their lives, adding that nearly 400 lives have been lost in the floods with more than two million displaced persons and billions of Naira of assets trashed away.
Prof Utomi praised Nigerians who had been generous in supporting the CVL initiative on human solidarity which has been tagged Pat’s Flood Relief Programme.