Open defecation: Bama IDP Camp Risks Diseases Outbreak
- UNICEF-provided WASH Items Vandalized
By: Zagazola Makama
The Bama Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp, Borno State, faces the high risk of an outbreak of diseases as the IDPs now engage in rampant open defecation following the alleged vandalization of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) items provided by UNICEF to avert such outbreaks there.
Sources at the camp have alleged that the vandalization was carried out by suspected officials of the camp, who have, allegedly, carted away the essential items to unknown locations for sale.
Zagazola Makama, understands that the items, which were essentially aimed at making life easy for the distressed women and children in the camp, were allegedly vandalized by the suspected officials not long after they were put in place in the camps.
According to reports, UNICEF had in fulfillment of its mandate to aid the IDPs provided the Bama community with overhead tanks and its accessories, including iron stand and water tankers.
The overheard tanks supply water for the displaced persons in the camps.
Sources, however, said that about 30 pieces of the water tankers and iron stands that were carted away from where they were installed have been recovered by some members of the community and taken to Bama Police Division.
Some suspects have, according to sources, also been apprehended in connection with the vandalization.
The suspects were discovered to have been those fingered some months ago for collaborating with some staff of the Borno Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency and Danish Refugee Council, to divert a full truck-load of soap valued at N7,000,000, but the matter was allegedly swept under the carpet.
Sources alleged that some individuals are trying to cover up the matter as the suspects were said to have been granted bail by the Police.
Latest information from dependable sourced have indicated that the stolen items were moved from the police station to an unknown destination as at February 2, 2024.
The effect of the theft and vandalization of the sanitary items have started taking its toll on the women and children in the camps as they are now resorting to open defecation on and around the camps with the resultant implication of possible disease outbreak.
Findings revealed that the toilets provided in the camp were not enough, others were not been evacuated and some poorly constructed.
In an effort to address the situation, UNICEF awarded contract for the evacuation of the filled toilets and establishment of new ones, but lack of supervisor and conspiracy amongst the contractors and those doing the work denied the end users the benefit of service access.
Sources said that the IDPs have resorted to digging holes within the periphery of the camps to defecate.
However, given the large number of persons in the camps, digging of holes were even no longer tenable, compelling many people to engage in open defecation within the camps.
This, according to health experts, is a recipe for disease outbreak in the camp, if adequate measures are not put in place to salvage the situation.