By Peter Duru
No fewer than 11,254 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Benue state currently taking refuge in 22 IDPs camps are reported to be down with malaria, diarrhea and typhoid fever.
An updated official statistics of the IDPs who are taking refuge in official and unofficial camps in seven Local Government Areas, LGAs of the state obtained from the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, indicated that over 5,763 of the IDPs are in three official camps in Guma Local Government Area, LGA, including Gbajimba and Daudu, the host communities.
Makurdi LGA has a record of 2,870 sick IDPs in 13 different official and unofficial camps, Agatu LGA is home to over 1,398 of the sick IDPs while Gwer West has a record 1,216 sick IDPs.
Logo LGA is home to 2,081 of the sick IDPs, 231 are in Kwande LGA while Okpokwu LGA is home to 296 of them.
Speaking on the development, a medical personnel from the Benue State Health Management Board deployed to the camps, who spoke on condition of anonymity attributed the surge in cases of malaria in the camps to the rainy season.
“It is rainy season when incidents of malaria is high and you know the number of the IDPs, their condition and situation in the camps. The state government and SEMA are obviously overwhelmed, what we have in Benue state is too much a burden for the state government.
“And from our interactions with the IDPs they are eager to go back to their ancestral homes but the challenge is that they do not have homes to return to because they were all destroyed and razed by armed herdsmen. Some of the villages are also still being occupied by the herdsmen, it is a pathetic situation.
“Efforts should be made to rebuild the destroyed communities to enable them return home and continue with their normal lives,” he stated.