By Faith Igbudu
ActionAid Nigeria, in partnership with First Step Action for Children Initiative have donated relief materials to 1,500 women in various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Benue State to reduce the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The humanitarian intervention funded by Start Fund is to assist the IDPs, especially women and girls to cope with the hardship created by COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from sexual abuses, exploitations, inadequate essential hygiene kits, handwashing facilities among others.
Speaking on Saturday, during the distribution of the relief items at Daudu 3 IDPs Camp, Guma Local Government Area, the Manager for Humanitarian and Resilience, ActionAid Nigeria, Mr David Habba, said that the emergency intervention was for four IDPs camps in the state, namely; Abagana, Daudu 3, Gbajimba and Ichwa.
Mr Habba further stated that the beneficiaries were selected across the camps and were given a monetised sum of N15,000 each, to enable them purchase food items of their choice.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought untold hardship, especially to living in the IDPs camps, saying hence, the need to support them to alleviate their sufferings.
“We are providing for people who have been displaced and living in camps, providing them with food assistance, and providing the hospitals around the vicinities with PPEs to ensure that they are able to continue to access healthcare facilities without fear of being infected with COVID-19. So, this is basically COVID-19 intervention.
“COVID-19 has induced a lot of suffering to people. We have gone and had discussions with these vulnerable groups. So, we are using the cash modality to give them freedom to choose what they want to eat.
“We are targeting 1,500 beneficiaries and each beneficiary will take home N15,000 because we are covering about 50 to 70 percent of their food needs,” he said.
Also speaking, the Programme Officer, Health and Nutrition, First Step Action for Children Initiative, Mngohol Korshima, said the intervention was to uplift the vulnerable people in the community, in order to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the camps.
“We are partnering with ActionAid Nigeria to provide COVID-I9 relief materials to people who are in IDP camps around Benue State and this is one of the core values of our organisation.
“We work to uplift vulnerable people in the community and the people who have been displaced by the herdsmen crisis are the most vulnerable group in our communities,” Korshima said.
She, therefore, called on the general public to observe all COVID-19 protocols given by the government to end the pandemic.
Responding on behalf of the state government, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Samuel Ortom on State Emergencies, Cyprian Tsenongu, appreciated Non Governmental Organisations for always coming to the aide of the IDPs.
He noted that the state government on its part is working round the clock to ensure the safety of the IDPs in the face of the pandemic, adding that so far, there has been no record of any positive case of COVID-19 in the various camps spread across the state.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke with The Voice, including Mrs Christiana Lutso and Roseline Alhaji, appreciated the NGOs for the intervention, saying they
will use the money to buy food and other items for family consumption.