Friday, October 5, 2018

Flood Disaster: WHO Steps Up Disease Prevention Efforts In Nigeria

In a bid to prevent disastrous epidemics, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is stepping up efforts to provide life-saving assistance, especially basic medical care, to flood victims in Nigeria.

At least 826,000 Nigerians are severely affected by heavy flooding after the banks of the country’s two main rivers – the Niger and the Benue – busted following heavy rain, which began falling in August.

“The disaster is now affecting 12 out of 36 states according to the National Emergency Management Agency, with 176,300 people displaced, more than 150,000 hectares of farmland inundated, 17,800 houses washed away, and 321 roads and bridges destroyed.

“As of Monday, the floods had claimed about 200 lives. A state of national disaster has been declared in the four most-affected states: Kogi, Niger, Anambra and Delta,” WHO said.

The organisation said the United Nations and its partners were carrying out rapid assessments and scaling up support to the government’s emergency response agencies.

In particular, WHO said it has deployed experts to strengthen surveillance and early warning systems
while also working to ensure that essential drugs were available in newly-created camps for displaced families.

Head of WHO in Nigeria, Wondimagegnehu Alemu, in a statement released on Thursday, said the flood has severely affected the health of the people.

“In addition to the immediate destructions and loss of lives, floods can severely affect the health of the affected population, even after the water levels have receded.

“Floods and their consequences – including a lack of drinkable water, shelter, and overflowing sanitation systems – can easily lead to the spread of communicable and water-borne diseases, such as cholera and malaria.