22.10.2012 Feature Article

Floods Victims In Nigeria Need Our Help

Floods Victims In Nigeria Need Our Help
22.10.2012 LISTEN

Floods Victims In Nigeria Need Our Help
Written by Paul I. Adujie Esq.
The world is aware of the devastation of Nigeria and Nigerians by flood since the beginning of October.

Many well-meaning persons have since commented on the impact of these flood disasters on Nigerians and Nigeria, particularly, the poor and the less fortunate among our people.

A measure of the extent of human refinement across the world or globally, is often said to be the willingness and the extent in which any society or nation cater for the poor, the underprivileged and the so-called less fortunate.

Amidst the ongoing ravages by floods, and ensuing catastrophes, there seem to be deliberate efforts to understate the extent and magnitude of devastation by floods, and the avalanches of consequences which will most probably follow.

Too often, we have heard government officials say, there is nothing that can be done. It is the act of God and nature, and it happens everywhere on earth.

By all accounts so far, and by any measure, responses and reliefs to this floods, a national disaster, has not been vigorous enough. Responses and reliefs ought target this national disaster in sustained and prodigious manner!

It is true that crises do happen or occur worldwide, but, crises response, effective and efficient management of crises are usually the marked difference between point A and point B globally.

It is quite worrisome to observe, and watch almost helplessly, at what could very well be, significant attendant cataclysms, even as they floods may begin to abate.

The poor who have mostly borne the brunt of all these displacements and dislocations, are the ones who continue to be mired in it. The poor have been left to cater for themselves, as they have alternately been neglected, relegated and left squalid conditions, extreme squalor and to their own devices.

Relief materials have been very hard to come by, and worse, there have been cases where relief materials have been commandeered by those who need these relief materials the least!

In many affluent or wealthy homes, it is quite evident that top members of Nigerian political class, have misdirected and cornered for themselves, what is already the very paltry relief materials which have been made available, mostly by government.

Relief materials ostensibly targeting the most desperate and the neediest of cases, have been hijacked by local political operatives, among them, so-called chiefs and traditional rulers, who ought to be, at the barest minimum, facilitators of distribution chain and be the conduit of relief material to the poor.

Relief material intended for the poor by donors, are now stockpiled in the homes of some local political aparachiks and so-called traditional rulers, all this, while the poor desperate citizens wait in the lurch, for relief materials and needful service!

Why does it always have to be this way? Greed and ineptitude getting in the way of rapid responses. We are at the cusps of unmitigated natural disasters, as a result of these floods, and yet, some acting as they are sleep-walking!

It has been pointed out repeatedly, that the floods may recede and contaminated water could lead to all sorts of diseases and serious challenges for public health officials in the days and weeks ahead.

First Responders and all levels of Nigerian health care apparatuses and systems much gear up and get ready for all types and all sorts of diseases, which could lead to a near total unraveling, as a consequence of floods after effect

Quite rather unfortunately, there are some in government in Nigeria, who are completely oblivious and blissfully ignorant of the truism, that cholera and other waterborne diseases are facts of life; And therefore, are most probable, in the aftermaths of these devastation by floods.

This is naturally and logically the case, as all bodies of water have been overrun by floodwater, boreholes have been contaminated and rendered impure for human consumption. Additionally, stagnant waters have become commonplace, and mosquitoes will, in the weeks and months ahead, have breeding bountiful seasons.

On a couple of days ago, a secretary to a state government got animated and engaged in a shrill-shouting match with me, just because I stated the obvious and the trite fact, that it is important to plan ahead for a probable cholera epidemic!

Where is forward looking Oral Rehydration Therapy or ORT supplies to prevent avoidable, needless and pointless loss of human lives? The time to act is now!

Articulating the probable and having an action plan, ought to be standard equipment for all political leaders, especially at the helms, such as an SSG, the eyes and ears of state chief executive! Why then will an SSG become reflexively defensive, at the mention of state of readiness of state machinery, in the event of a probable epidemic?

Our visits to camps currently being occupied by displaced persons in Nigeria, indicate many challenges which are liable to lead to a major health crises. There is overcrowding, there is poor ventilation.

Tons and tons of garbage are being generated without a dumpster or plans for proper and adequate disposals. Human feces and other wastes abounds.

There is complete absence of water supply for displaced citizens, who are now in encampments in their thousands! Clean potable-water has always been scarce in Nigeria, it is the case that water, even during normal times.

Clean water has never been and it is not plentiful in a Nigeria, even without these floods. Water supply and indoor plumbing have been nonexistent in Nigeria. These floods have made the availability of clean drinkable water ever more a rarity now!

In view of the foregoing, it is quite clear that most people in Nigeria are not prepared for worst case scenarios. At best, Nigeria is ill-prepared for the aftermaths of the current floods, which have ravaged over half of Nigeria's 36 federating states, with population of estimates of 180 million people.

The yearning here, is to stir crises managers into readiness, with relief materials and remedial measures. This is no time to be in denial, or be defensive. This is no time to be caught napping. What happens next are within the realm of the foreseeable, predictable and discoverable.

The hope and reasonable expectations here, are that, the sounding of the alarm bells now, would make a difference in real terms and in the human lives saved, with planning, preparedness and adequate crises response.

Our longing is that, all persons of goodwill, will extend a hand and provide succors, as these predictable and foreseeable needs arise, and would extend needful assistance, help and support during these ongoing floods, as well as the most probably after effects in all ramifications.

There is palpable fear of the almost certain and almost sure eventuality of the sorts calamities from water contamination, cholera, other waterborne diseases, inflation, food scarcity, petrol and gas shortages and much more.

Nigerians and Nigeria are hoping for the best, but, it is the case that planning ahead against adversities is always best.

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