By Faith Igbudu
Head of Field Office, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Sango Tumaini, has said the Benue state Humanitarian Response Plan is a veritable tool that will guide and make effective humanitarian interventions in the state.
He stated this on Thursday as Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), in collaboration with UNHCR held a one day state level coordination meeting on Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) situation in Benue state, in Makurdi.
Sango, who gave an overview of what UNHCR is doing in the state, said the organization remains committed to ensuring the welfare of refugees and IDPs in the state.
While commending the Benue state government for its efforts so far to tackle the humanitarian situation, he said all efforts must match political will to bring the crises to an end.
“The government of Benue state through SEMA issued a Humanitarian Response Plan in regards to the displaced population of IDPs and also refugees which is very welcome, and we think this is one of the tools that we will be able to see how to support the government.
“However, it is important from the on set of crises, that we see a political will to embark on durable solutions not only services, to the plight of IDPs,” he said.
In an overview of the IDPs situation in the state, Senior Special Assistant to the governor of Emergency Management, David Adzenda said the numbers keep rising every day from attacks and currently as a result of the flood.
In a detailed analysis of the flood situation in the state, he said “a total of 12 local governments have been affected in Benue state. They are Apa, Agatu, Guma, Gboko, Tarka, Gwer-East, Katsina-Ala, Buruku, Vandeikya, Makurdi, Logo and Otukpo.”
According to the analysis, the number of deaths so far is 29, the number of displaced persons from the flood is 18,349 while a total of 29,468 hectares of farmlands were washed away.
Different humanitarian partners under the five thematic areas of interventions, that is; Education, Protection, WASH/Shelter, Livelihood/Empowerment and Health took turns to x-ray the various challenges on ground and their recommendations.
Earlier, Executive Secretary, SEMA, Dr Emmanuel Shior, in his welcome address, explained that the essence for the coordination meeting was “to evaluate the situation and proffer better ways to bring comfort to the persons of concern.
Represented by the Programs Manager, David Adzenda, he said the agency seeks to rub minds with the humanitarian partners, who have been supporting the state in the humanitarian challenge for better service delivery.