By Vincent Ujumadu
THE United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, yesterday donated items worth millions of naira to the victims of the recent flood that affected seven local government areas of Anambra State.
The items include 100 drums of chlorine for disinfection of water sources. 40 cartons of Aquatabs for household water treatment and 320 cartons of Ready to Use therapeutic food (RUTF).
The items were handover to the state deputy governor Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim who represented Governor Chukwuma Soludo at the ceremony.
Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Mrs Juliet Chiluwe acknowledged that the 2022 flood was the worst in a decade, adding that it affected 2.8 million people, of which an estimated 60 per cent were children, across 34 of the 36 states in Nigeria.
According to her, government data showed that of the number affected by the flood, 1.3 million people were displaced, while over 600 people died.
She said: “Continuous heavy rains have collapsed hundreds of public health facilities, water systems and sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, diarrhoea, and malaria.
“To contribute to the effort of government and other development partners, UNICEF, with funding the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has initiated a multi-sectoral response comprising health, child protection and WASH sectors, to mitigate the impact of the floods and support the early recovery-phase of the affected population in Anambra State.
“For child protection, the response will focus on protection concerns in three key areas: the provision of psychosocial support for flood-affected children; the prevention of family separation and the reunification of separated and unaccompanied children, as well as the strengthening of community-based protection systems related to GBV.
“For Health, the response will focus on emergency primary health care services to address waterborne and vaccine-preventable childhood diseases by ensuring continued access to health services via mobile brigades, prepositioning essential medicines and supplies, support the restoration of basic health services and improving health-seeking behaviours through community engagement.
“As part of the response, UNICEF is also making available essential medicines and health supplies, sexual reproductive kit, chlorine for disinfection of water sources in health centres, schools and communities”.
Responding, the deputy governor commended the interventions UNICEF had been making in the state in various aspects of human endeavour, especially as it concerned women and children.
While assuring the continued collaboration with the world body, he said the state government was working out modalities to mitigate the harshness of the flooding on victims in different parts of state, as well as put proactive measures to checkmate such emergencies in the future .