Coronavirus: UN, partners take steps to avert pandemic in IDP camps

IDP Camp used to illustrate the story
IDP Camp used to illustrate the story

The United Nations, (UN), and its partners are making efforts to ensure the coronavirus disease does not break out in camps housing internally displaced persons, (IDP) in Nigeria.

According to the UN website, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, on Wednesday, said the agencies installed hand-washing stations in IDP camps to ensure supply of clean water.

He said partners also distributed soap and taught the women on how to produce their own.

“Teams are supporting authorities in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states in developing emergency response plans that take into account the living conditions in many communities and IDP camps, where overcrowding can increase the risk of disease outbreaks,” he said.

“We will not wait for COVID-19 to reach camps for internally displaced persons before we act,” Mr Kallon said.

“They have already suffered enough from the decade-long conflict and our priority is to ensure the continuous delivery of life-saving assistance, especially health services, to the most vulnerable women, children and the elderly who need special attention.”

The crisis in these states, which has spilled over into the Lake Chad region, has left more than seven million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The official said it is crucial for vulnerable people to have access to not only water, soap, shelters, but also food, education and protection.

The official said the UN also plans to bring in vital health equipment and tools to prevent and treat the respiratory disease.

“The UN has developed messages, posters, videos and other communications aimed at raising awareness about COVID-19 among IDPs and other vulnerable people in the North-east.

“Sensitisation campaigns are also reaching millions in various states through partnerships with major TV and radio channels.”

The UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, reports that most of the displaced are in Borno State.

It said the majority of whom are women and children, with around a quarter being children under age five.

Meanwhile, the UN and its humanitarian partners are actively involved in camp coordination and management in IDP sites across North-east Nigeria, in support of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

COVID-19 has affected 12 states across Nigeria, with 151 cases recorded as at Wednesday.

Coronavirus factsheet


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