Concerned by the effects of coronavirus in rural Nigerian areas on people that struggle with extreme hunger and are exposed to vulnerable conditions than ever, Children’s Mission extended their support through FLEP to assist an identified number of people that needed urgent assistance. With the support of The Navigators Nigeria, we identified displaced people who lived in Mercy IDP Camp Zonkwa, Kaduna state, who had fled for their lives as a result of reprisal attacks that lead to the loss of lives, destruction of homes and businesses.
Mercy IDP Camp
Rev Tanko Clement Kato (Zonkwa ECWA DCC Chairman), in an exclusive interview with FLEP, said, “We saw people lying down on the street crying and weeping, and nobody could help them. We decided as a church out of love as the Bible taught us. So we decided to bring them in to host them.”
The Mercy Internally Displaced People Camp, was set up on July 11th, 2020 out of an urgent need to help people in communities around Zonkwa Local Government Area of Kaduna state, who were under attack. Rev Gambo Waziri and some other individuals decided burden themselves with helping people who were fleeing for their lives – “At full capacity, we had over 5000 displaced persons in the Mercy IDP Camp, some came to us without clothes and helpless. I have never had any experience managing a displaced person camp, I just prayed to God and we set up the camp to help these people. The camp started on the 11th of July with about 30 people and in less than an hour, the number increased to 36. When the number increased that same day, we had to seek help from ECWA as a denomination and we were given ECWA Christian Academy Zonkwa to house the people since the school pupils were home, as a result, COVID-19 Lockdown. Before the end of that day, the number of people at the camp increased to 900 persons and the number kept on increasing within 3 days.”
The people of Zonkwa have not been exempted from the economic effects of the Coronavirus lockdown. While trying to survive through the effects of the pandemic, they were afflicted with insecurity challenges that severely affected the lives of women and children. Most of them struggled to feed well because they had to depend on the limited harvest they stored at home before the lockdown. Some of the villagers even bartered their farm produce for necessary food items, due to movement restrictions. Most of have been hit hard by this restriction because of their dependence on daily wage to feed self and families. Their difficulty scaled up as a result of the attacks, many lost their loved ones and their homes to unknown gunmen.
The Covid-19 Humanitarian Phase 2 was implemented to give humanitarian aid to 100 women in Gora and Kurmin Masara on the 6th of November, 2020. We purchased and distributed a variety of food and household items such as;
Rice – 10kg
Maize – 10kg
Beans – 10kg
Vegetable oil – 2.5 litres
Sugar and seasoning Cubes
Clothing items donated by concerned individuals.
According to the Camp Coordinator, Rev Waziri, they have been able to empower over 60 women and widows with cash and 5 milling machine to start up a business. Some of the persons who were severely traumatized were sent to Jos for therapy. Although the majority of the people have now returned to their homes or to stay with their relatives, the camp coordinator shared some of the camp challenges by saying,
“The first challenge we had was how can we start, we had no food or a place to sleep. So we had to borrow mattresses from people. We received threats to close the camp and send people away but there was no way we could send them away because there is no place for them to go. We had to look for blankets and thick clothes for the babies we had and their mothers. We also had to build 5 more toilets for the people for their health and privacy.”
The camp is still faced with financial challenges to:
- Clear the medical bills for 3 persons in recovery.
- Purchase mattresses and return to the people from whom they borrowed from because a lot of the mattresses got missing or damaged.
The camp coordinator also said, “We strongly desire to help rebuild the homes of people whose house were burnt we wish to get support to be able to buy building materials.”
FLEP’s food aid will support these women and their families with a month worth of food and clothing, the people still need your assistance. The people of Gora, Kurmin Masara and other neighbouring communities in Zonkwa remain the focus of support.
To support this movement contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org