Friday, April 22, 2011

Nigeria: emergency aid for people fleeing violence in the north

21 Apr 2011 21:04 Africa/Lagos

Nigeria: emergency aid for people fleeing violence in the north

ABUJA, April 21, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nigerian Red Cross Society are responding swiftly to the urgent needs of thousands of people displaced in the city of Kano and elsewhere in the north of the country following post-election violence that erupted on 17 April.

"At least 12,000 displaced men, women and children are assembled in six locations in Kano," said Otchoa Datcharry, head of the ICRC office in the city. ICRC and Nigerian Red Cross staff have installed a 5,000-litre water storage bladder, and distributed 2.5 tonnes of emergency food rations (crushed cassava, sugar and bread) and 25,000 litres of water to 9,000 people. "Four more water storage bladders will be installed in coming days," added Mr Datcharry.

In Bauchi, the ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross distributed 600 kilograms of food items to more than 750 displaced people, mostly women and children, who fled the violence and assembled in an open area in front of an industrial complex. A group of women among the displaced have volunteered to cook and distribute the food.

Assessments of the need for further assistance are under way in Kano, Bauchi and Kaduna and in other violence-stricken areas.

"Nigerian Red Cross first-aid workers treated a total of over 400 people for injuries," said Umar Mairiga, the society's disaster-management coordinator. "Many of the injured were later taken to hospitals."

Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC has given 104 Nigerian Red Cross first-aid volunteers the opportunity to refresh and update their skills. It has also provided training for almost 300 people from 12 violence-prone communities across six states of Nigeria, and supplied 16 state branches of the national Red Cross with first-aid kits to boost their capacity to respond to emergencies.

The ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross had already provided assistance for victims of violence in the north of the country earlier this year. They brought aid to some 4,000 people in camps in Tawfawa Balewa, in Bauchi state. In the largest camp they installed a 10,000-litre tank to make water more easily available. At the Ungogo Primary School in Kano, where people had gathered after fleeing nearby violence, the Red Cross also built six toilets and a water facility.

"It has been very encouraging to see the dedication and commitment of the various Nigerian Red Cross branches and of their volunteers in responding to this latest wave of violence," said Zoran Jovanovic, head of the ICRC delegation in Nigeria.

Source: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

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