The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, has directed all district chief executives and co-ordinators of the National Disaster Management Organisation in the region whose areas were affected by the recent floods to immediately distribute relief items under their care to the victims.
He gave the DCEs and the NADMO co-ordinators a three-day ultimatum to carry out the directive or face unspecified action.
“It is embarrassing to note that several weeks after the disaster, most of the relief items are still locked up in the districts,” he lamented.
Alhaji Idris, who was speaking to the media in his office, expressed concern at reports of relief items still locked up in warehouses, while victims of the recent floods wallowed in misery.
According to him, he had earlier met with some of the DCEs and NADMO co-ordinators in Tamale during which he had impressed on them to map out workable strategies on how they could ensure the speedy release of the items to the victims.
“It is, therefore, unacceptable that the items should still be kept at the various warehouses while the victims are suffering from the lack of basic necessities,” the minister lamented.
To ensure that this latest directive was carried out, Alhaji Idris promised to personally visit the affected communities in the respective districts to make sure that the relief items, particularly food, were distributed fairly to the needy.
When the Daily Graphic contacted some of the DCEs, they claimed that they lacked the necessary logistics such as vehicles to cart the items to the people.
Others also claimed that they had already distributed enough items to the victims and were, therefore, keeping the rest as stock.
About two months ago, the three northern regions, in the face of torrential rainfall and the opening of the spill gates of the Sagre Dam in neighbouring Burkina Faso, experienced severe flooding.
The floods killed dozens of people, destroyed hundreds of homes and thousands of hectares of farmland and crops and in the process rendered most of the people in the affected areas homeless and destitute.
The government, in order to ameliorate the plight of the people, launched a nation-wide appeal for support for the victims, to which non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society groups, religious bodies, individuals, as well as the international community, responded with donations in cash and in kind.
Story by Zakaria Alhassan,