ASABA – The creation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps by the Delta State Government in 2012 presumably was meant to alleviate their suffering in the state.
Today the story has not been the same as the state government is bedeviled with yet another load to cater for.
Reports reaching gathered that the state government is now faced with the scourge of catering for pregnancies which has now become rampant at the IDP camps.
With the perennial downpour which has left over 15 Local Government Areas (LGA) in the State flooded, over 12 camps have been created in several areas to aid the increasing number of persons displaced by the flood,
Reports say crops, birds fish pods have been washed away while millions of properties had been lost to the flood.
In Asaba, Oshimili South LGA, where only three camps were created in 2013, a total of four camps had been created in the area in 2019, namely; Ogbeafor Camp, Women’s Affair Camp, Onne Camp and Ahabam Camp; all strategically placed to cater for displaced persons in the area.
Other camps in the state are Patani IDP Camp in Patani Local Government Area, Emede Camp in Isoko South LGA, Alaka(Ozoro) in Isoko North LGA, Ashaka Camp in Ndokwa East LGA, Utagba-Ogbe Camp in Ndokwa West LGA and Ewulu in Aniocha South LGA.
The increase in the numbers of camps is as a result of the volume of flood as predicted by the Nigerian Metrological Agency (Nimet), which has turned to sites to cater for pregnant women and non displaced persons as refuge.
investigations discovered that majority of the pregnant women are at the stage of child birth.
During a visit to the IDP Onne Camp, our reporters counted 96 pregnant women between the ages of 15 to 25.
The victims are equally faced with prevailing ailments at the camps such as malaria, skin diseases, arthritis, high blood pressure amongst others.
The victims are appealing to government to help them to restart their farms again when the flood goes down even though the doctors said they were been attended to.
When contacted, the Coordinator of Camp Onne, Mr Eugene Owenonye confirmed the figures, saying since the camp was opened, it has about 12 deliveries. Nine boys and three girls just as he hoped for more easy delivery if majority of them continue to conceive in the camp. He commended the efforts of Red Cross Officers in the camp and their support during child delivery within two weeks in camp.
“Red Cross have been so helpful with child delivery all along, they have been assisting the State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA) Officers.”
Mrs. Chidinma Akwujobi, a six month pregnant woman, a resident of Okanala, when interrogated said she would not mind having her delivery in the camp.
On the high number of pregnancies and several individuals who are not displaced persons in camp, findings disclosed that they take advantage of the condition of the victims who are in dire need of shelter, food and others to impregnate them and abandon them at the camp.
Corroborating, Mrs. Uche Dunkwu, Camp Coordinator of Ahaba, opened on the 6th of October 2019, refuted claims that the camp had been used as a means to harbour pregnant women for delivery.
“I do not know of other camps but in my camp, we have 86 pregnant women. Also four of them have put to bed.
“Concerning the pregnant women, I do not think they are not displaced. If you want to find people who sneak in to get one or two things, you will find among the younger ones. These pregnant women are displaced that is why they are here.”
Whether the high numbers of pregnant women in the camp is likely to increase funding the camp, Mrs. Dunkwu said that it would be impossible to provide all the needs of the pregnant women.
She said, “These pregnant women are displaced, so the little item we feel we can provide which we have, we make it available for them. We provide them with pampers, beverages, towels and blankets, bathing soaps; those are the things we give to them after childbirth.”
In preparation for delivery, she said a clinic is situated in the camp to cater for immediate medical needs of individuals, most especially pregnant women in the camp.
Dunkwu disclosed that the clinic is capable of meeting up with child delivery,while the issues of inadequate materials have risen in the clinic. Alternative means have been employed.
If the situation arises, we send them to Okwe hospital or any healthcare centers nearby,” she said.
DAILY INDEPENDENT also spoke with a nurse in the camp, Mrs. Ekene Iyameide, who stated that pregnant women treated in the camp are those who have been screened by the camp management.
“They do some clearance with the camp management before coming here. Before treatment, they get clearance from management. I feel most of the things they have cleared them on, is location and other personal data,” she said.
She expressed fears over the capability of the facilities in the camp to cater for childbirth of over 80 women if they are to deliver before the flooding ends.
She said, “I am a midwife, so taking deliveries would not be a problem but we do not have enough manpower.”
Having recorded over eight deliveries in the clinic with little or no complications, she said, medical referrals would be an alternative measure to ensure all pregnant women are cared for.
The state government has equally raised the alarm over the increasing number of flood victims at the IDP Camps in the state, calling for support for the victims who have been in camps for about five weeks.
Mr. Chiedu Ebie, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, and Chairman, State Flood, Risk Alert and Management Committee, lamented the situation in an interview with DAI after a tour of six out of the 11 established IDP camps in the state.
He said that the state had in four weeks recorded a total of 18,000 persons in the 11 established IDPs camps across the state compared to about 10,000 persons recorded in the same period last year.
He, however, expressed fears that the number would rise more than the current figure, adding that state government was doing all within its power to manage the situation within its limited resources.
“In Patani IDP camp is 5,228 persons, in Emede camp is 2,842, in Alaka, we have 2,756; Ashaka is 1,686, Utagba-Ogbe is 1,650 and in Ewulu the number is 1,772 persons. But in total, we have over 18,000 in just about four weeks which is more than what we had last year which is about 10,000 IDPs in four weeks. In Emede-Ozoro, for instance, last year it was about 1, 500 but now it is over 2,000 persons.
“This is a source of concern to us in terms of the expansion in the number of persons in the camp. The state government must definitely need support but in the interim, as a state we are proactive in putting up camps immediately we got a notification from NIMet,” Ebie said.
He said that for those impacted communities who wish to weather the storm by not coming to the camps, that the state government has also sent relief materials to them like in Burutu and Bomadi among others.
Mrs. Rebecca Onajite, an inmate in Patani Camp, appealed to government to provide them with seedlings, birds, fingerlings and cash to enable them to return and rehabilitate their business when the flood subsides.
Equally, SEMA has presented relief assistance to over 150 victims of natural disasters from across four communities in the state. The benefitting communities include Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area, Ibusa in Oshimili North, Ovwian/Aladja in Udu and Biose-Amantu in Asaba, Oshimili South Local Government Area.
While making the presentation in Asaba, the Commissioner Bureau for Special Duties, Hon. Omamofe Pirah, emphasised that the relief by the state government was not meant to compensate them for their losses but to cushion the effects of the disaster.
Owing to several factors, Delta State is susceptible to both natural and human induced disaster such as flooding, oil spillage, fire, herdsmen menace and ethnic crisis.