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Disease, Hunger Hit Benue IDP Camp

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Agagbe camp in Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State have cried out over illnesses and hunger currently ravaging them.

Ibaah Terna Jacob, who is the chairman of Agagbe IDP camp in Gwer West LGA, expressed worry that many of the IDPs are seriously being plagued by skin diseases and measles as well as hunger in the camp.

Jacob said at least six children are presently suffering from measles and now taking herbs while two babies died at birth because the mothers had no medical attention.

One of the affected, Agagbe Nguavese, a 40-year-old widow with three children – Aondona 15, Eucharia 13, and Naome eight years old – said, she is presently at her wit’s end not knowing what to do with her second child’s ill health.

“My daughter, Eucharia started scratching her body, so, I went and bought some medicine for her but the situation is worsening everyday. From what looks like rashes, it has now turned into wounds and I don’t know what to do next since I have no money to take her to the hospital to know what is wrong and then follow up with treatment,” the widow said.

While Stephen Mnena, 20, who gave birth recently is contending with hunger, which had made it impossible for her to breastfeed her newborn.

Mnena said, “My husband is Ukpaagh Stephen and 30 years old. We live in this camp with our two children – Wandoo, two years old and the one just born 17 days back.

“After the birth of my last daughter, Franca, till today my breast is not bringing forth milk and she will be crying all day. We managed to buy a sachet of glucose but it has finished, we don’t know what to do now. We have no money or food.”

Meanwhile, Adoo Shipinen, 27, who had a premature stillbirth, blamed the death of the child on her inability to access medical care due to lack of funds.

Earlier in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, Jacob, the camp chairman corroborated the narrative on the scenario of the camp where the IDPs give birth in toilets while the children suffering from measles rely on herbs for treatment.

Contacted, the acting Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Sir James Iorpuu, did not respond to messages and calls put through his telephone.

However, the SEMA’s Planning and Research officer in charge of IDPs, Mimi Tion, told journalists in Makurdi that actions to be taken are underway.

“We have sent our health officers there and they have given us the report. So, action will be taken,” Tion said.


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