By Chijioke Kingsley
No fewer than 400,000 children currently taking refuge in the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in various locations in Benue State have come down with malnutrition.
Our correspondent gathered that majority of the children in the camps could hardly have enough to eat even as they defecate in the open.
In the camps visited, the health personnel in charge of the camps, an Assistant Chief Nursing Officer and a Nurse/Midwife, disclosed that over 400, 000 children had come down with malnutrition.
“All the children in our camps have become malnourished, the crisis has started taking its toll directly on the affected children. It is a challenge we are facing presently and it is obviously not good for growing children.
“The reason for this development cannot be farfetched, they are not eating well. And the truth is that the Benue state government has been overwhelmed, the government is carrying a burden that two states put together cannot carry.
“There is an urgent need for federal government and international intervention to help cater for these IDPs, because the state government is already overwhelmed.”
According to health personnel at on of the camp, a Nursing Officer 1, said: “one of the health challenges we have in this camp is malnutrition among the children.
“At the moment children in this camp are malnourished which is not a good development at all.
“The resources of the state government are already overstretched because the state government provides the bulk of the needs of this people.
“But for how long will this continue? Just take a look at the multitude in this camp alone. The federal government must do all within its powers to have these people return to their ancestral homes quickly before the situation gets out of hand”.
Also sex abuse has taken center stage in the camp, as most ladies become vulnerable due to hunger and starvation.
“Many of us [women and girls] came to the camp without children, but if you look around, plenty got pregnant and are now mothers without partners,” said a 19-year resident of one the IDP camp in Markurdi.