As displaced people return to their homes, stakeholders in Anambra State have expressed concern about the potential outbreak of diseases in flood-affected communities.
During a meeting between UNICEF officials and stakeholders from flood-affected areas for the implementation of the post-flood intervention, members of various communities in Awka North, one of the affected local government areas of the state, made this statement.
“The ongoing UNICEF response to the Anambra flood emergency is with funding from United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and UNICEF’s response will focus on three sectors – child protection, health, and WASH,” said Mr. Timi Kiabuku, the WASH Specialist for the Enugu Field Office.
Additionally, Mr. Andy Nwanze, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Consultant (Enugu office) stated in his address that the meeting was organized to determine how the organization could assist those impacted by the flood of 2022, particularly now that the flood has subsided and the victims are returning to their homes.
“We are here to ascertain what transpired during the flood and how we can intervene to lessen the people’s suffering.
“We learned that everything has collapsed, including homes, schools, hospitals, and other structures, but we are more worried about the water contamination they have experienced and the potential for disease outbreaks.
“As we continue to condemn open defecation, all water sources are now contaminated, and the flood has moved everything into the homes of those who have proper toilets and brought out their wastes.
“We will start visiting communities next week to quantify the loss and to determine how to use the funds.”
Several local stakeholders, including Mr. Emmanuel Ucheze, chairman of the Awka North Local Government Area, Dr. Chioma Ezenyimulu, executive chairman of the Primary Health Development Agency, Mr. Paul Odenigbo, executive secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and many others, described the sufferings of the populace during the disaster.
Ucheze, the council’s chairman, said: “I appreciate UNICEF helping us. Since the time I was born, we have never seen anything like what we saw in this local government during the disaster.
“We appreciate your coming to help, and we’re also asking other organizations to see what they can do to support our people. Our people returned to the community after the flood subsided, but some are unsure of where to begin because they have lost everything.
He continued by saying that because their crops, barns, and farmlands were all destroyed, the affected people also face severe hunger.
“We are concerned about children and their health,” Ezenyimulu continued. We just started measles vaccination to help protect children against disease. As the flood is receding and people are going back to their homes, we are worried about the likely outbreak of diseases.”