United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Provides Life-Saving Assistance to Flood-Affected Families in Anambra State, Nigeria
UNICEF's emergency response, funded by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), has helped mitigate the devastating effects of the floods
We still expect the government to provide us with seedlings for the 2023 planting season
Thousands of families were displaced, with many losing their homes and livelihoods when floods hit Anambra State in 2022. Forty-six year old Cerena Igwe and her family were one of them. A resident of Ogbaru local government area, Igwe spoke of her family's struggles, saying, “our house was submerged and when the flood receded, we discovered that most parts of the building had given way. Because we have no money to rebuild it, we are living in it like that”.
Cerena's family of ten are primarily farmers, and the flood severely affected their livelihoods. They salvaged what little food they could, but safe drinking water was scarce, and their water sources had become contaminated.
Though we are happy that UNICEF and Anambra State government have come to our aid, assessing the situation, helping us rebuild our health centers and community boreholes. We still expect the government to provide us with seedlings for the 2023 planting season” Cerena added.
Soon after the floods hit the state, UNICEF, with funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), initiated a multisectoral response to help families affected by the floods.
According to Juliet Chiluwe, UNICEF’s officer in charge of operations in the flood areas, the response comprises the Health, WASH, and Child Protection sectors, and is aimed at mitigating the impact of the floods and initiating an early recovery phase for the affected population in Anambra State.
For Child Protection, the response focuses on delivering protection services in three key areas: the provision of psychosocial support for flood-affected children, the prevention of family separation and the reunification of separated and unaccompanied children, as well as the strengthening of community-based protection systems for ownership and sustainable solutions for prevention and response to violence against children and GBV.
The Health response is focused on delivering emergency primary health care services through integrated medical outreaches, including consultation clinics for treatment of minor disease conditions, referral services, addressing waterborne and vaccine-preventable childhood diseases. Ongoing activities to ensure continued access to health services include mobile brigades for outreach services, prepositioning of essential medicines and health commodities, and supporting the renovation of PHCs to restore the provision of basic health services. All of these are geared towards improving health-seeking behavior by the community.
In WASH, the response is focusing on the distribution of critical WASH supplies, the provision of essential services, including water system rehabilitation, rehabilitation, and desludging of sanitation facilities in schools and Primary Health Care (PHCs) facilities, and conducting hygiene promotion campaigns.
Mrs. Chiluwe emphasized that in emergencies like this, children suffer the most. They are vulnerable to disease and violence, and the chaos and insecurity of flood emergencies threaten or destroy their access to food, shelter, social support, and healthcare. UNICEF's Core Commitments for children focus on the rights of these children and their families, providing them with the essential interventions required for survival, protection, and the fulfillment of their overall rights.
While the floods have left many families and communities struggling to recover, UNICEF's intervention brings hope and the promise of a better future. Cerena and her family, like thousands of others in Anambra State, will now have access to the support they need to rebuild their lives and communities.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNICEF Nigeria.