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Group worry over landlords’ refusal to give lands for toilets in IDP camps

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The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Emergency Working Group, has expressed concern over refusal of some landlords to provide land for sanitation facilities and water schemes at IDPs camps in Borno.

The UNICEF WASH Sector Coordinator for the North East, Mr Bob Bongomin, expressed the concern at a meeting on Friday in Abuja.

Bongoomin also noted that some community leaders and water operators were resisting initiatives to upgrade existing water schemes.

Giving an update on humanitarian situation in Borno at the first WASH Sector meeting, Bongomin said the challenge had impacted on construction of physically segregated WASH facilities.

According to him, some areas like Pulka are already experiencing water stress and chronic infrastructure breakdown.

He said for instance, some landlords had halted the drilling of borehole, saying that this may be due to fear of losing their livelihoods and spheres of control.

The coordinator said that although some humanitarian actors had carried out advocacy to the state government on the issue, not much progress had been made.

He called for renewed commitment from all stakeholders to meet the needs of no fewer than 2,393 displaced people.

“Currently, some areas have had chronic infrastructure breakdown; population is overflowing and these facilities are overstretched.

“Our access and intervention is for all and we do not segregate between the host and IDP communities, with the principle of ‘Do No Harm.’

“There is the need for all sector partners to do more, current latrine ratio is 1 toilet to 50 persons, no space and privacy, dignity is lost and there is an increase in gender-based violence owing to lack of toilets.”

In Adamawa, Bongomin said there were currently 196,888 IDPs, with 182,329 and 14,559 living in host and IDPs camps respectively.

He said 851 cholera cases were recorded with four deaths in 2019 in the state, adding that nine Local Government Areas (LGAs) were cholera-prone.

“They are Maiha, Mubi North, Mubi South, Hong, Song, Girei, Fufore, Yola North and Yola South,’’ Bongoomin said.

He said there was low access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practices, noting that continued flooding was a worrisome trend and possible cause.

He added that the issue of effective sludge management was of great importance and called for a proper designated landfill to dump solid waste.

Mr Kennedy Tembo, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF Spain), expressed concerns over increase in water-borne diseases in hospitals in Pulka, noting that the assessment shown that e.coli was present in their water.

Tembo called for more commitment from sector players to support those communities, adding that underground water was non-existent.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the WASH in Emergency Working Group was established in 2012, when the country experienced serious devastating flood that affected 85 million people from 14 states.

The group has since remained active, especially in the North-East, where IDPs exist and have responded immediately to outbreaks.

Membership of WASH sector players cut across institutions, Development Partners, International and Local NGOs, CSOs responding to WASH issues in the North East, with UNICEF as co-lead.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Ismail Abdulaziz

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