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.
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.
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.