from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – FLOODING in southern Nigeria has increased the risk of childhood killer diseases.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned of the threat of cholera, diarrhea and malaria.
This warning comes as water infrastructure, sanitation facilities, and public health facilities have been damaged as a result of heavy rains and river overflows particularly in the Bayelsa state.
“Children’s lives are still at danger in Bayelsa,” lamented Safiya Akau, Communication Officer, UNICEF Nigeria.
“There are hidden hazards including waterborne illnesses, and farmlands have been destroyed,” the official stated.
Akau said children living in improvised camps for displaced people lack basic amenities and face additional dangers including being separated from their relatives and gender-based violence.
UNICEF reports that 257 900 people have been affected by the floods while 219 400 others displaced have been forced to flee their homes.
About 77 percent of the communities along the riverside are completely or partially drowned.
Access to food, healthcare, and other necessities is excessively expensive.
There is a lack of supply, with women and children remain the most vulnerable.
UNICEF stated that getting shelter, hygiene kits, and other crucial supplies to affected communities remains a priority for women and children being exposed to the elements and outbreaks of waterborne illnesses like diarrhea.
Through the delivery of cholera kits and government-led mobile health teams, UNICEF is assisting the State Ministry of Health in supplying necessary medications and conducting medical outreach in IDP camps.
– CAJ News