RURAL Nigeria, ordinarily, does not have the best conditions for sustainable living. When the tasking conditions bear extra burdens from the worst flooding in more than four decades, the results are the stories of woes from different parts of Nigeria.
Only a few States were spared stories of devastations with the etching impact they have created in communities that were barely surviving.
How would children born in these conditions survive? How would the communities return to normalcy, when the waters recede and the trickles of benevolence they are getting runs dry?
These communities need more help. Our appeal goes to anyone – individuals and organisations – that can muster assistance, for the various communities, to intervene.
Their circumstances are too gloomy for them to contemplate the future. Many of them are hanging on the slim hope that they would recover anything from homes, farms and other businesses that have been under water for weeks.
It is a vain hope, yet they cannot live without hope – the hope that the floods will not return, hope that they will get assistance to live again, hope that they have a future, for them and their children.
Some of the loudest voices heard on the matter these days are from opportunists, attention seekers, politicians, and some who have identified flooding as the only news worthy item.
They have no concerns about the victims. They want their faces in the media, exploiting the plight of the displaced. Yet as the smiling (or mock concerned faces) dominate the media, there are disturbing stories of hunger, illnesses, rapes and other crimes in the camps.
Everything is in short supply, especially in places where the already inadequate relief materials from governments have been allegedly diverted, or outrightly stolen, confirming earlier fears about the N17.6 billion intervention fund the Federal Government provided to ameliorate the plight of flood victims.
The challenges that have resulted with providing food and emergency shelter for victims, paint gloomier pictures of what await them when they return to what used to be their homes.
Where will they get funds for reconstruction of their homes and their lives? How do people who were too poor to live survive after the flood has washed away the most basic means of their existence?
We have an emergency in our hands. Unless we treat the situation with such profundity, neither the victims nor those ready to assist them would understand that the re-building would be a slow process that would task our commitment to rural Nigeria whose ravaging poverty receives dismissive treatment.
The flood can help Nigeria to pull some out of poverty, if she decides to tackle the disaster decisively.