The United Nations Children’s Fund has said that according to government data no fewer than 600 persons died and 1.3 million were rendered homeless as a result of the September/October 2022 floods across 34 states of the country.
Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Mrs Juliet Chiluwe, stated this on Saturday, during an official handover of supplies for Anambra State Flood Response from UNICEF to the Anambra State Government.
During the occasion, the first set of supplies of 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) were handover to the state governor, Prof Chukwuma, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim.
Chiluwe, in her address, said, “We bring you greetings from UNICEF, Nigeria and sympathize with the government and people of Anambra state on the recently encountered flooding experience, especially with the women and children who remained vulnerable during these times.
“We acknowledged that since September 2022, the worst floods in a decade affected 2.8 million people, of which an estimated 60 per cent are children, across 34 of the 36 states in Nigeria. Of those affected, 1.3 million people have been displaced, and over 600 people have died in relation to flooding according to government data.
“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.
She added, “To contribute to the effort of government and other development partners, UNICEF, with funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has initiated a multisectoral response comprising Health, Child Protection and WASH sectors, to mitigate the impact of the floods 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, supporting the restoration of basic health services and improving health-seeking behaviours through community engagement.
Continuing, the UNICEF Chief said, “As part of the response, UNICEF is making available essential medicines and health supplies, sexual reproductive kit, chlorine for disinfection of water sources in health centres, schools and communities.
Responding on behalf of the state government, the Deputy Governor, Dr Ibezim, commended the interventions UNICEF had been making in the state in various aspects of human endeavour, especially as it concerned women and children.
Ibezim, who assured continued collaboration with the world body, said the state government was working out modalities to mitigate the harshness of the flooding on victims in different parts of the state as well as to put proactive measures to checkmate such emergencies in the future.
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2022 flooding: 600 died, 1.3million people displaced in Nigeria ― UNICEF