The Nigerian Red Cross Society with support from the International Federation of Red Cross Societies (IFRC), is targeting to assist 300,000 people affected by the current flooding in Nigeria.
Dr Michael Charles, Head of West Africa Cluster Office, IFRC, Abuja, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
Charles said that on Sept. 23, the IFRC launched an emergency appeal globally to the tune of 5.4 million Swiss francs to assist those affected by the flood in Nigeria.
The Emergency Appeal is being launched to facilitate interventions that would provide immediate life-saving support to those affected by floods.
Charles said that the proposed areas for interventions are; emergency shelter, distribution on non-food items including sleeping mats, blankets, cooking sets, hygiene and sanitation items.
Other proposed interventions are livelihood and basic needs (including cash-based intervention), health, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion and protection support.
He said that IFRC was counting on the support of the international community and donors to enable them to meet the dire needs of those affected.
He explained that as per initial estimates, about 1.4 million people were affected by the current flooding, 19,000 people are currently displaced and about 200 reported dead.
Charles said that following the declaration of a national emergency in the four most affected states of Kogi, Niger, Anambra and Delta, the IFRC and Nigerian Red Cross has been ramping up its efforts.
According to Charles, the IFRC is supporting the Nigerian Red Cross in conducting a need assessment in the affected states to provide the needed assistance to the most vulnerable people.
“We have seen the devastation, people have lost almost everything, and some houses were totally submerged in water.
“There are considerable health needs, people need shelter, with flood comes epidemic. We are looking at watery diarrhoea, an increase in malaria, typhoid.
“Our volunteers are on the ground working with the communities to ensure that we can provide the needed support.
“People have lost everything and Red Cross volunteers are providing first aid, they are proving psychosocial support, they are providing first aid to the people in the communities and the displaced.
‘’They are creating awareness on hand washing skills and providing all the needed assistance.
“We have been able to distribute almost immediately a hundred household kits to the people that have been affected, we have also distributed food to them,” Charles said.
He said that currently, the IFRC has also deployed international expertise to enhance a better and well-coordinated response.
He said that with increased flooding and stagnant waters, communities would be exposed to waterborne diseases such as watery diarrhoea which could potentially lead to cholera.
He said that from the communities visited, the team saw destroyed health facilities, which make it even more important for volunteers to be on the ground, creating health awareness and sensitisation to prevent waterborne diseases from flaring up.
Charles said that the challenges in responding were vast considering the huge needs and targeting the most vulnerable people.
He said that the Red Cross Society would work with government authorities, and other humanitarian stakeholders to ensure effective collaboration to avoid lapses and duplication of efforts.
“As the Red Cross Movement, we also have the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who is assisting us.
“We have gotten the ICRC’s support in terms of providing needed non-food items and some food items as well.
“In the coming days, the IFRC, together with the Nigerian Red Cross will be distributing emergency household items; we have buckets, soaps, detergent, blankets, mats, toothpaste, and sanitary towels.
“For us, it is important that we also take care of the females to ensure that their privacy is protected and they have a good hygiene,” he said.