Chima Azubuike, Gombe
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday, said it is extending its water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) operations to curb the risk of COVID-19 spreading in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the Northeast Nigeria, particularly in Borno.
According to a press statement, Teshager Tefera, IOM Nigeria WASH program manager, said the virus continues to disrupt the health, public life, and livelihoods in Africa’s most populous country.
Tefera said the new IOM project will help prevent and control COVID-19 infections in three areas in Borno state with high concentrations of displaced persons and areas also deemed high-risk for disease spread
He said, “Without the availability of sanitation facilities and hygiene materials, IDPs are extremely vulnerable to disease transmission.
“Our teams continue working alongside displaced communities to bring clean water to camps and nearby settlements, but more needs to be done.”
According to Tefera, services will reach an estimated 420,000 IDPs in 120 camps and nearby communities in Maiduguri, Konduga, and Damasak in Borno state.
He said the project will supply clean and safe water, as well as 22,000 hygiene kits with soap, buckets, and other items, to populations at risk.
He said the displaced persons live in makeshift and temporary shelters in overcrowded conditions where physical distancing is difficult, if not impossible, adding that the impact of an outbreak among the displaced populations in this area could be devastating.
While underscoring the essence of the WASH initiative, the IOM chief of Mission, Franz Celestine, said it will be sustained.
“This is our largest WASH donation since the programme began in Nigeria in 2018, and it arrives at a time when these services are most needed,”
“The support from OFDA will help ensure the sustainability of our life-saving activities in Borno,” celestine added.