The National Emergency Management Agency has distributed food and other items to more than 800 people displaced by flood in five local government areas of Rivers.
Yakubu Suleiman, NEMA’s Coordinator, Emergency Operation Centre in Rivers and Bayelsa, made the disclosure at a stakeholders meeting on Friday in Port Harcourt.
Suleiman said the distribution was part of the agency’s intervention to provide succor to the Internally Displaced Persons in the affected areas.
He said that the items distributed so far were rice, beans, garri, milk, milo, sugar, vegetable oil and palm oil.
He said that items also distributed at the IDPs were: tin tomatoes, Omo detergent, bathing soap, children’s wear; men’s wear; women’s wear, mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets and buckets.
Others were cups spoons, nylon mats, plates, clothing spoons and tents, among others.
Suleiman said the items were distributed in the IDP camps in Ahoada West, Ahoada East, Abua Odua, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni and Obiakpor Local Government Areas.
Suleiman said the stakeholders’ meeting was called to assess the activities of the EOC and their challenges in Port Harcourt.
According to him the absence of State Emergency Management Agency in Rivers, posed challenges in the course of the intervention, unlike what obtained in neighbouring Bayelsa.
He said: “We have started distribution of the intervention materials after assessments of the areas. We had some challenges which the SEMA would have taken care of.
“We were able to control the situation in Bayelsa because the SEMA were on ground already; so we had necessary equipment to work with, unlike in Rivers State.
“Here we are working with the local government Chairmen who we were told to work with because they are from those affected areas and know the areas very well.’’
He said the challenges that NEMA faced in the various camps were those involving security, medicals, water and shortage of food.
He also appealed to the heads of security agencies in the state to deploy their personnel in the IDP camps in the affected areas.
He said: “The Joint Task force team was equally active in the area; the army also gave the team assurance to call on them when they were needed. But we need the presence of security men in the camp.
“We need the presence of the police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps personnel in the camp. Security is necessary in areas like the camps.’’
The coordinator commended the local government chairmen for their role in the distribution of the items.
He applauded the police escorts and other stakeholders working with the agency in the camps during the distribution of the relief materials.
Suleiman also commended all the stakeholders and organisations that had been present working with his team in the camp.
The coordinator said that health personnel and medical equipment to take care of health needs of the IDPs were not adequate.
He said that pregnant women who went into labour at two of the camps were taken to medical facilities outside the camps for delivery.
He said: “We have to take two pregnant women from Mbiama IDP camp to Akinima Health Centre where they put to bed a baby boy and a baby girl respectively.
“The women were not ready for the delivery; they had nothing and there was no equipment at the health centre.
“We had to buy the necessary items for the women to deliver to the health centre.”
He appealed to agencies and organisations to contribute medical equipment, food items and other materials to help those in the IDP camps.
In their separate contributions, some of the agencies present called for formal letters to their organisations to authorise their deployment to the IDP camps.
They gave the assurance of their organisations’ readiness to establish their presence in the camps.
The agencies whose representatives were present at the meeting included the Federal Fire Service, the Nigerian Red Cross, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the police and the NSCDC.
The Rivers State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency and the state Ministry of Environment also had their representatives at the meeting.