I am glad I experienced one of the few times reliefs were brought to the community, that faithful day in the afternoon, the news spread like wild fire. As though like everyone was expecting a guest.
On bikes, in keke-napeps, and on feet proceeded to a muster point where trucks carrying all sorts; bags of rice, beans, mattresses, soaps, bags of water, body cream. Different authorities were also present; community leaders, police officers and volunteers.
People gathered in groups as though there is a conventional sharing formula when such opportunity comes. I watched the young people in excitement climbing trees to have a clear view of the abundance while the aged ones looked hopeless even in the face of hope.
I met with a health volunteer, Dr Tule who was rendering help to the victims on the camp. He recapped the first few days after the flood when he had to treat about 70 people, including children and women who were suffering from either Malaria, Diarrhoea and other upper respiratory tract infections. He said proper diagnosis could not be made as there were just few health volunteers who had to cater for the need of many.
“We mostly prescribed drugs based on symptoms as expressed by the victims.”
I also met with Mr. Pius Adakali who explained that the reliefs had come from the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). Being in a government official, he made the requisite promise of more relief items being on the way.
“This scenario has become a market sphere and people are enjoying it. That would be the third time reliefs are brought to this community.”
The excitement of the people towards the arrival of these reliefs reflects in their eagerness and coordination. They follow instructions given by their distinctive heads. In the gloomy face of excitement, lies deeper sorrow.
There was Tam Okeda in her 70s who couldn’t speak or understand English or pidgin. She had walked about 2 kilometers from Adeke area to benefit from the relief materials being distributed because the little consumables she managed were flushed off.
Tam Okeda left with two mudus of rice and beans.
And there was Christiana Agbamu, 30, a mother of 4. She has only been able to receive clothes as relief since the floods.
Lydia Iwenger is 60. She would have been preparing moi-moi for sale right now but she lost 3 bags of beans in the floods and with them her means for providing for her 6 children.
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