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Cablegate: Flood Disaster in Northern Nigeria

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 ABUJA 002863

SIPDIS


AID ADM


USAID/W FOR AFR/WA, MIKE KARBELING
ABUJA FOR ADMIN


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT APER ECON PREL
SUBJECT: FLOOD DISASTER IN NORTHERN NIGERIA


REF: RE: DISASTER DECLARATION


1. SUMMARY: OFDA SENT EDRC JAY NASH TO NORTHERN
NIGERIA FOR FOUR DAYS TO ASSESS THE FLOODING THERE AND
TO MAKE A PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER
ADDITIONAL OFDA SUPPORT (ABOVE AND BEYOND THE $25,000
TRANSFERRED AS A RESULT OF THE AMBASSADPR DISASTER
DECLARATION) WOULD BE NEEDED. CROP DAMAGE WAS SEVERE,
THOUGH THE NUMBERS OF DISPLACED PERSONS WERE NOT
PARTICULARLY HIGH AND THEIR NEEDS WERE LARGELY BEING
ADDRESSED BY THE LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS. FOR THE
TIME BEING, THE INITIAL $25,000 IN DISASTER RELIEF
ASSISTANCE IS SUFFICIENT, AND MONITORING ITS USE BY THE
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS SOCIETIES WILL
GIVE USAID AMPLE OPPORTUNITY TO DETERMINE WHETHER MORE
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE (SUCH AS FOOD AND NON-FOOD
COMMODITIES) IS NEEDED TO COMPLEMENT NIGERIAN
GOVERNMENT EFFORTS. SHOULD AN INTERNATIONAL NGO BE
INTERESTED IN ADDITIONAL WORK IN THE AREAS OF SAFE
WATER AND/OR RECONSTRUCTION, AND USAID NIGERIA CONCURS
THAT THIS IS A NEED THAT WILL NOT BE MET BY OTHER
DONORS, OFDA SHOULD BE OPEN TO REVIEWING AND POSSIBLY
FUNDING PROPOSALS OF THIS TYPE IN THE NEXT MONTH OR
TWO. END SUMMARY.


2. OFDA DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO EDRC JAY NASH
VISITED NORTHERN NIGERIA ON TDY FROM MONDAY SEPTEMBER
17 TO THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20TH. THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP
WAS TO EVALUATE THE NEED FOR FURTHER OFDA ASSISTANCE TO
VICTIMS OF THE FLOODS IN KANO AND JIGAWA STATES. (THE
INITIAL GRANT OF $25,000 REQUESTED IN THE AMBASSADOR
DISASTER DECLARATION
HAS ALREADY BEEN APPROVED AND
PROCESSED.) THE ASSESSMENT INCLUDED THREE DAYS OF
FIELD VISITS TO FLOOD AFFECTED AREAS, INCLUDING A
HELICOPTER FLYOVER ON THE THIRD DAY, AS WELL AS
NUMEROUS MEETINGS WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND
OTHERS INVOLVED IN THE ASSISTANCE EFFORT. NASH WAS
ACCOMPANIED BY GARBA ABDU OF THE USAID/NIGERIA HEALTH
UNIT, WHO IS A NATIVE OF NORTHERN NIGERA AND FLUENT
SPEAKER OF HAUSE HE DOMINANT LANGUAGE IN THE
AFFECTED AREA.


---------------------------------------------
GENERAL SITUATION DESCRIPTION
---------------------------------------------


3. UNUSUALLY HEAVY RAINS IN THE SECOND HALF OF AUGUST
IN NORTHERN NIGERIA SWELLED THE KANO AND CHALLAWA
RIVERS, ESPECIALLY AT THE POINT WHERE THE TWO RIVERS
CONVERGE TO FORM THE KEDEIJA RIVER. WATER ALSO ROSE
BEHIND THE TIGA AND CHALLAWA DAMS. VILLAGES NEAR THE
RIVERS RESPONDED BY BUILDING DIKES AROUND THE INHABITED
AREAS, AND IN SOME CASES, AROUND FIELDS. ON AUGUST
27TH, HOWEVER, WATER BEGAN SPILLING OVER THE DAMS,
FLASH-FOODING RESULTED AND THE DIKES OF MANY VILLAGES
WERE OVERRUN BY THE WATER IN AS LITTLE AS THIRTY
MINUTES TIME, FORCING THE INHABITANTS OF SOME VILLAGES
AND CITY WARDS TO FLEE FOR THEIR LIVES. SOME VILLAGES
WERE CUT OFF FROM ACCESS TO HIGHER GROUND BEFORE
VILLAGERS COULD ESCAPE. THESE PEOPLE WERE EVACUATED IN
BOATS, OR IN SOME CASES, BY FLOATING ON LARGE
CALABASHES. TWENTY PEOPLE REPORTEDLY DROWNED IN KANO
STATE, AND 180 IN JIGAWA STATE.


THE AMOUNT OF RAINFALL WAS TRULY EXCEPTIONAL. ONE WEEK
OF AUGUST REPORTED AS MUCH RAINFALL AS THE ENTIRE RAINY
SEASON LAST YEAR. THIS WAS THE FIRST LIFE-ENDANGERING
FLOODING TO OCCUR IN THE AREA IN LIVING MEMORY, AND THE
VICTIMS WERE SERIOUSLY TRAUMATIZED. (MANY ARE
CONSEQUENTLY EXPRESSING GREAT RELUCTANCE TO RETURN TO
THE SAME LOCATIONS.)


4. FORTUNATELY, MOST OF THE DAMAGE WAS TO FARMLANDS
RATHER THAN INHABITED AREAS. THE REGION IS NOT DENSELY
POPULATED, AND MOST VILLAGES OF THE AREA ARE LOCATED
FAR ENOUGH FROM THE RIVER, AND ON SUFFICIENTLY HIGH
GROUND, TO AVOID HAVING BEEN FLOODED. SOME VILLAGES
AND CITY WARDS, HOWEVER, WERE TOTALLY SUBMERGED, AND
OTHERS PARTIALLY SUBMERGED, RESULTING IN THE COMPLETE
LOSS OF THOUSANDS OF HOUSES (WHICH, MADE PRIMARILY OF
MUD, COLLAPSED QUICKLY WHEN EXPOSED TO THE CURRENT).
THE NUMBER OF VILLAGES AND WARDS WITH HOUSES DAMAGED OR
DESTROYED BY THE FLOODING IS PROBABLY SOMEWHERE BETWEEN
30 AND 50. THE NIGERIAN RED CROSS IS REPORTING SOME
33,500 PERSONS DISPLACED IN JIGAWA STATE AND 50,000 IN
KANO STATE, WITH APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THE DISPLACED
CAMPING OUT IN SCHOOLS AND OTHER PUBLIC BUILDINGS
ASSIGNED THEM BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND THE OTHER
HALF STAYING WITH RELATIVES OR FRIENDS.


5. THOUGH NOT HEAVILY POPULATED, THE REGION IS,
HOWEVER, HIGHLY FARMED, WITH ALMOST ALL LAND PLANTED
WITH ONE CROP OR ANOTHER. CROP DAMAGE IS THUS
EXTENSIVE. MANY FARMERS OF THE AREA HAVE LOST ALL RICE
AND BEAN FIELDS, WHILE SOME HAVE ALSO LOST MUCH OR ALL
OF THE MILLET AND GUINEA CORN STAPLE CROPS. (THE
DAMAGE TO THE STAPLE MILLET AND GUINEA CORN FIELDS
WOULD APPEAR TO BE LESS THAN ORIGINALLY FEARED, SINCE
MANY FIELDS THAT WERE UNDERWATER DRIED WITHIN A WEEK
AND SINCE THESE TALL PLANTS SEEM NOT TO HAVE SUSTAINED
MUCH DAMAGE AS A RESULT OF BEING PARTIALLY UNDERWATER
FOR THAT PERIOD. THE MILLET AND GUINEA CORN LOSS,
HOWEVER, MUST STILL BE CONSIDERED SIGNIFICANT,
ESPECIALLY FOR FARMERS WITH FIELDS IN LOWER-LYING AREAS
OR CLOSE TO THE RIVER BED.) THE NUMBER OF VILLAGES
WHOSE CROPS WERE AFFECTED BY THE FLOODING IS REPORTEDLY
125, AND PROBABLY SOME 500,000 PERSONS (100,000
FAMILIES) COULD BE SAID TO BE DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY
DAMAGE TO THEIR SUBSISTENCE CROPS.


6. THOUGH NIGERIA IS GENERALLY SUBJECT TO ETHNIC AND
RELIGIOUS TENSION, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO DATE THAT
THE FLOOD HAS AGGRAVATED THIS SITUATION. THERE DOES
NOT, FOR EXAMPLE, APPEAR TO BE INCREASED
ETHNIC/RELIGIOUS TENSION AS A RESULT OF THE LIMITED
POPULATION MOVEMENT TOWARD THE URBAN AREAS. THE
AFFECTED VILLAGES ARE LARGELY OF THE SAME ETHNICITY
(HAUSA-FULANI) AND RELIGION AS THE MAJORITY POPULATIONS
IN THE NEARBY URBAN AREAS SUCH AS KANO AND WUDIL, AND
THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE MOVED ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY NUMEROUS
ANY WAY TO SIGNIFICANTLY ALTER ANY ETHNIC/RELIGIOUS
BALANCE.


-----------------------------------------
THE RESPONSE TO DATE
-----------------------------------------


7. NEARLY ALL THE INITIAL ASSISTANCE TO THE FLOOD
VICTIMS-PRIMARILY THE DISPLACED-TO DATE HAS COME FROM
THE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS OF THE AFFECTED AREAS.
IN KANO STATE, THE STATE RELIEF AND REHABILITATION
AGENCY HAS ASSISTED THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO PROVIDE
REGULAR FOOD AID, AS WELL AS NON-FOOD ITEMS, AT REGULAR
TWO-WEEK INTERVALS TO THE WORST AFFECTED. FOR EXAMPLE,
KURA LGA HAS TWICE DELIVERED TO ITS AFFECTED VILLAGES
500 BLANKETS, 500 50 KG SACKS OF RICE, 200 100KG BAGS
OF CORN FLOUR, 500 25KG BAGS OF SALT, 600 GALLONS OF
VEGETABLE OIL, 500 WOMEN CLOTH WRAPS AND 500 MEN
BUBUS. A THIRD
DISTRIBUTION IS UNDER PREPARATION. OF
THESE AMOUNTS, APPROXIMATELY 3/5THS WENT TO THE 1678
HARD-HIT FAMILIES OF GAMADAN. KURA ALSO SAYS THEY
SPEND ABOUT $450 DAILY ON BREAD PURCHASES FOR THE
AFFECTED FAMILIES.


JIGAWA STATE HAS ALSO RESPONDED, THOUGH THEIR RESPONSE
SEEMS A LITTLE LESS CONSISTENT AND REGULAR THAN THAT OF
KANO STATE. AT A SCHOOL HOUSING THE DISPLACED FROM A
PARTIALLY SUBMERGED VILLAGE PEOPLE SAID THEY HAD
RECEIVED ONE ROUND OF FOOD DISTRIBUTION ONLY, AND WERE
SERIOUSLY SHORT OF FOOD. AT THE SAME TIME, HOWEVER,
THE STATE IN ANOTHER LOCATION NOT FAR AWAY HAD ALREADY
BEGUN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FIRST OF A PROMISED 500
NEW HOUSES. COMMENT: THE WALLS OF THIS HOUSE, MADE
FROM COMPRESSED CEMENT-MUD BRICKS, ARE NEARLY COMPLETE.
INTENDED, ACCORDING TO THE PEOPLE BUILDING IT, FOR JUST
ONE FAMILY, THE HOUSE IS QUITE LARGE, WITH SEVERAL
BEDROOMS, AND BOTH OFDA AND USAID/NIGERIA
REPRESENTATIVES HAD THE STRONG REACTION THAT (A)
PROVIDING ROOFING FOR IT WILL BE QUITE EXPENSIVE, AND
(B) BUILDING 500 SUCH HOUSES IS AN EXTREMELY AMBITOUS
PROJECT WHICH MIGHT EASILY SURPASS THE GOVERNMENT
RESOURCES BEFORE MANY
ARE BUILT AND FOR WHICH THE
GOVERNMENT WILL FIND IT DIFFICULT TO FIND ANY
INTERNATIONAL CONTRIBUTOR/PARTNER. END
COMMENT


THOUGH FOOD AND NON-FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS IN BOTH KANO AND
JIGAWA STATES ARE NO DOUBT SHORT OF BEING COMPLETELY
ADEQUATE, AND THOUGH THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT THEY
WILL CONTINUE IN A DEPENDABLY RELIABLE MANNER, THESE
CONTRIBUTIONS ARE SIGNIFICANT AND ANYONE WORKING TO
PROVIDE ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE MUST BE CAREFUL TO
COORDINATE CLOSELY WITH THE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
TO AVOID DUPLICATION, SO AS NOT TO PROVIDE THE
GOVERNMENT WITH AN EXCUSE TO WITHDRAW FROM THE
RELIEF/REHABILITATION EFFORTS. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
IS NOW PARTICIPATING IN THE RELIEF EFFORT, HAVING TWICE
SENT EVALUATION TEAMS FROM THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY
MANAGEMENT AGENCY (NEMA) AND PROVIDING KANO STATE WITH
$300,000 FOR RELIEF EFFORTS. (THE AMOUNT OF FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT AID TO JIGAWA WAS NOT CONFIRMED, BUT IS
BELIEVED TO BE EQUIVALENT TO THAT PROVIDED TO KANO.)


8. IN ADDITION, JIGAWA JUST RECEIVED #100,000 BRITISH
POUND, FROM DFID OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT (JIGAWA
HAVING BEEN IDENTIFIED AS A DFID +FOCUS; STATE WELL
BEFORE THE PRESENT CRISIS.) THOUGH JIGAWA IS LESS
POPULATED THAN KANO, FLOOD DAMAGE ON THE WHOLE APPEARS
TO HAVE BEEN WORSE THERE, WITH MORE HOMES AND FIELDS
LOST THAN IN KANO, AND MORE AREAS STILL UNDER WATER.


9. BOTH STATE GOVERNMENTS WERE ABLE TO SECURE A LIMITED
AMOUNT OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES FROM UNICEF, AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT AREAS HAVE ALSO RECEIVED ASSISTANCE FROM
LOCAL BUSINESSMEN. THE NIGERIAN RED CROSS PROVIDED
SOME SMALL DIRECT ASSISTANCE TO BENEFICIARIES USING
BOTH THEIR OWN RESOURCES AND FEDERATION FUNDING ($5000
TO DATE.) USAID EXPENDED $1000 OF THE $25,000 DISASTER
GRANT ON SOME RELIEF MATERIALS AND HAS TURNED OVER THE
REMAINING $24,000 VIA A GRANT TO THE INTERNATIONAL
FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES. NO
OTHER EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE HAS YET BEEN FORTHCOMING, AND
NO INTERNATIONAL RELIEF AGENCIES HAVE SET UP IN THE
AREA. A DELEGATION FROM THE JAPANESE EMBASSY ARRIVED
IN KANO ONE DAY AFTER THE OFDA REPRESENTATIVE FOR AN
ASSESSMENT OF THE SITUATIOM, BUT THEIR ASSISTANCE
PLANS, IF ANY, ARE NOT YET KNOWN. DFID JOINED OFDA IN
THE HELICOPTER FLYOVER ON SEPTEMBER 20TH, AND HAS, AS
PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, JUST MADE #100,000 AVAILABLE TO
JIGAWA STATE GOVERNMENT FOR DISASTER RELIEF.


COMMENT: PART OF THE PROBLEM IN THE NIGERIAN CONTEXT,
PARTICULARLY IN THE NORTH, WOULD APPEAR TO BE THAT
INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES, INCLUDING UN AGENCIES, ARE NOT
HIGHLY PRESENT IN THE COUNTRY. ICRC HAS A VERY SMALL
OFFICE IN LAGOS. UNDP AND UNICEF HAVE OFFICES IN KANO,
BUT THESE OFFICES ARE SMALL. (THE OFDA REPRESENTATIVE
ATTEMPTED TO CONTACT BOTH ORGANIZATIONS IN KANO, BUT
THEY APPEAR TO BE ONE-MAN OFFICES AND THE
REPRESENTATIVES WERE NOT AVAILABLE IN THE SHORT TIME
FRAME OF THE VISIT.) THOUGH OTHER LARGE INTERNATIONAL
NGOS MAY HAVE OFFICES IN LAGOS AND PROGRAMS IN SOUTHERN
AREAS, NONE APPEAR TO HAVE ANY PRESENCE AT ALL IN THE
FLOOD-AFFECTED PARTS OF THE COUNTRY-NO ONE APPEARED TO
HAVE EVEN HEARD OF MOST OF THEM-AND NONE HAVE COME TO
DO ASSESMENTS OF THE RECENT DISASTER. BEING AN AREA OF
INTENSE AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITY, IT IS CLEARLY NOT
NORMALLY A DEFICIT AREA IN TERMS OF FOOD SECURITY,
WHICH WOULD EXPLAIN THE LACK OF A WFP PRESENCE AND ANY
FFP SUPPORT. END OF COMMENT


----------------------------------------
PRESENT NEEDS
----------------------------------------


10. IN GENERAL, THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS,
AND PARTICULARLY THE LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS, HAVE
RESPONDED ADMIRABLY TO MANY OF THE URGENT NEEDS OF THE
FLOOD VICTIMS. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE WAS THE FIRST TO
ARRIVE, AND REMAINS, BY FAR, THE MOST SIGNIFICANT
ASSISTANCE TO DATE. THE CONCERN IS NOT THAT THERE ARE
SERIOUS GAPS IN THE ASSISTANCE-(RELATIVELY FEW OF THE
VICTIMS MET DURING THE ASSESSMENT COMPLAINED ABOUT THE
QUANTITY OR QUALITY OF THE RESPONSE)-BUT THAT THE
GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE ABLE TO KEEP UP REGULAR
ASSISTANCE AND COMPLETE AMBITIOUS PROGRAMS THAT IT HAS
INITIATED OR PROMISED. THERE ARE ALREADY SIGNS,
PARTICULARLY IN JIGAWA STATE, THAT GOVERNMENT
ASSISTANCE WILL WANE OVER TIME, AND THAT MORE EXTERNAL
RESPONSES WILL BE NEEDED. FURTHERMORE, IT WILL BE
NECESSARY TO FINE-TUNE THE ASSISTANCE, WITH ASSISTANCE
PROVIDERS, NOW PROCEEDING TO EVALUATE CAREFULLY ON A
FAMILY-BY-FAMILY BASIS, AS THE FLOOD WATERS RECEDE, THE
EXACT EXTENT OF THE AFFECTED POPULATION LOSSES AND
THEIR MINIMUM SHORT AND LONG-TERM NEEDS.


11. ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY SHELTER APPEARS NOT TO BE A
CONCERN. SEVERAL THOUSAND HOMES HAVE BEEN DESTROYED BY
THE FLOOD, AND A FEW VILLAGES ARE STILL UNDER WATER.
NEVERTHELESS, THE + DISPLACED PERSONS/FAMILIES ;
SITUATION WOULD SEEM TO BE UNDER CONTROL. NO
POPULATIONS APPEAR TO BE COMPLETELY SHELTER-LESS AT THE
PRESENT TIME, THE GOVERNMENT HAVING ASSIGNED SCHOOLS
AND OTHER PUBLIC BUILDINGS, OR RENTED PRIVATE
BUILDINGS, TO TAKE CARE OF THOSE THAT WERE NOT ABLE TO
MOVE IN WITH RELATIVES OR FRIENDS IN NON-AFFECTED
HOUSES OR AREAS. THE NUMBERS ARE NOT THAT HIGH, IN ANY
CASE, AND MANY WHO WERE ORIGINALLY CAMPING IN GROUP
SHELTER AREAS HAVE SINCE MOVED OUT, PREFERING TO EITHER
STAY WITH FRIENDS AND RELATIVES, OR TO MOVE TO RENTED
HOUSING IN TOWNS, OR TO RETURN TO IMPROVISED HOUSING
BACK IN THEIR HOME VILLAGES (FOR THOSE CASES WHERE THE
WATER HAS ALREADY RECEDED).


AS THE GROUP SHELTER AREAS ARE NOT FAR FROM THE
DISPLACED HOME VILLAGES, AND IN MANY CASES + BELONG ;
IN SOME SENSE ANYWAY TO THE COMMUNITIES AFFECTED, THE
ARRANGEMENT HAS CAUSED SO FAR MINIMAL DISRUPTION.
SCHOOL HAS BEEN SUSPENDED IN SOME AREAS DUE TO
OCCUPATION OF THE BUILDING BY THE DISPLACED, BUT IT IS
LIKELY THAT A SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM WILL BE SOON
IMPROVISED. (IN SOME SCHOOLS HOUSING THE DISPLACED,
SOME CLASSROOMS HAVE BEEN KEPT CLEAR FOR SCHOOL USE AND
THE SHORTAGE OF SPACE COMPENSATED FOR BY A MOVE TO A
TWO-SHIFT SYSTEM.)


SOCIAL PROBLEMS MIGHT OCCUR IN THE FUTURE IF THE
DISPLACED REMAIN IN THE BUILDINGS FOR MORE THAN A FEW
MONTHS, WHICH IS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THESE PEOPLE
BE ASSISTED SOON TO DECIDE UPON RECONSTRUCTION SITES
AND PROVIDED MATERIALS TO USE IN RECONSTRUCTION. THERE
IS NO DESIRE TO REMAIN IN GROUP SHELTERS. UNLESS THERE
IS MORE HEAVY RAIN (WHICH HAS NOT BEEN TRUE SINCE
AUGUST), ALL THE VILLAGES FROM WHICH THE DISPLACED CAME
WILL PROBABLY BE COMPLETELY ACCESSIBLE IN TWO OR THREE
WEEKS TIME, OPENING THE POSSIBILITY OF RETURN,
ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHOSE HOUSES WERE CONSTRUCTED OF
CONCRETE BLOCK AND ARE THUS PROBABLY RECOVERABLE.
THOUGH MANY ARE SAYING THAT THEY DO NOT WANT TO RETURN
TO THE SAME VILLAGES, FEARING THAT NEXT YEAR THE SAME
THING COULD HAPPEN AGAIN, IN AREAS WHERE THE WATER HAS
RECEDED, MANY CLEARLY ALREADY HAVE RETURNED. WHAT
COULD KEEP PEOPLE IN GROUP SHELTER AREAS LONGER THAN IS
ADVISABLE IS THE GOVERNMENT STATED PROMISE TO
RESETTLE THE DISPLACED TO NEW SITES ON HIGHER GROUND,
WHICH MAY NOT BE ACTED UPON QUICKLY. IN SOME CASES THE
GOVERNMENT IS SAYING THAT IN ORDER TO OBTAIN A NEW SITE
FOR A VILLAGE, THEY MUST WAIT UNTIL THE HARVEST OF
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER IS OVER, SINCE MOST OF THE AREAS THEY
MIGHT MOVE TO ARE CURRENTLY PLANTED FIELDS AND THE
GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE TO PURCHASE THE LAND FROM PRESENT
OWNERS.


IN ANY CASE, THERE IS NO REASON AT PRESENT TO MOVE TO
ANOTHER SHELTER THAT WILL NOT BE A PERMANENT ONE, ONCE
IT IS DECIDED-BY GOVERNMENT, OR ON A FAMILY BY FAMILY
BASIS-WHERE THEY SHOULD REBUILD, THESE FAMILIES COULD
PROBALBY USE SOME PLASTIC SHEETING TO IMPROVISE
TEMPORARY HOUSING ON THEIR NEW (OR OLD) RECONSTRUCTION
SITES, AS WELL AS CEMENT, ROOFING WOOD, TIN ROOFING AND
DOOR-/WINDOW SETS TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION OF NEW HOUSING.
SINCE MANY OF THESE PEOPLE LIVED IN EXTENDED-FAMILY
COMPOUNDS WITH MULTIPLE BUILDINGS, IT SHOULD BE
EMPHASIZED FROM THE START THAT ASSISTANCE CAN NOT
REPLACE WHAT HAS BEEN LOST, BUT ONLY PROVIDE PERHAPS
THE FIRST PERMANENT STRUCTURE OF THE FUTURE COMPOUND
(EXCEPT, OF COURSE, IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT THAT STATE
GOVERNMENT, OR SOME OTHER DONOR, MAKES AVAILABLE THE
RESOURCES FOR COMPLETE RECONSTRUCTION.)


12. THE FLOODED VILLAGES LOST ANY FOOD STOCKS THEY HAD
AND WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HARVEST MUCH FROM ANY REMAINING
VIABLE FIELDS UNTIL LATER NOVEMBER OR DECEMBER OF THIS
YEAR. EVEN IN LOCATIONS WHERE RESIDENTS WERE ABLE TO
KEEP FLOOD WATERS FROM ENTERING THE VILLAGE PROPER,
MUCH EARLY-HARVEST MILLET INTENDED TO TIE THE
POPULATION OVER UNTIL THE MAIN HARVEST LATER THIS YEAR
HAD BEEN LEFT IN THE FIELDS AND THUS HAS BEEN LOST.
PARTICULARLY WORRISOME IS THAT MOST OF THE CLOSE-TO-
THE-GROUND PROTEIN CROPS, LIKE BEANS AND BAMBARA SEED,
AS WELL AS THE INCOME-PRODUCING CROPS, SUCH AS RICE,
HAVE BEEN LARGELY DESTROYED.


REGULAR FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS WILL LIKELY BE NECESSARY
UNTIL DECEMBER OF 2002-THE NEXT HARVEST. FOR FAMILIES
STILL ABLE TO HARVEST CONSIDERABLE AMOUNTS OF MILLET
AND GUINEA CORN IN DECEMBER OF THIS YEAR, FOOD
ASSISTANCE MAY BE REDUCED AT THAT TIME TO JUST PROTEIN
AND OTHER NON-STAPLE COMMODITIES.


13. SAFE DRINKING WATER REMAINS A CONCERN FOR ALL.
THERE HAVE BEEN NO OUTBREAKS OF WATER-BORN DISEASES TO
DATE, BUT THIS REMAINS AN AREA OF VULNERABILITY.
THOUGH THE GOVERNMENT HAS CHLORINATED SOME CONTAMINATED
WELLS, AND DUG SOME NEW WELLS (IN RESETTLEMENT AREAS),
HEALTH OFFICIALS WILL NEED TO BOTH (A) EXPAND THE
EFFORT TO ENSURE THAT ALL AFFECTED POPULATIONS HAVE
ACCESS TO SAFE DRINKING WATER, (B) FOLLOW UP ON INITIAL
INTERVENTIONS, PROVIDING ADDITIONAL CHLORINE AS
NECESSARY, AND (C) MAKE SURE THAT THE POPULATIONS ARE
WELL-EDUCATED CONCERNING THE DANGERS OF USING NON-
TESTED WATER.


14. A SPECIAL MEDICAL INTERVENTION WOULD NOT SEEM TO BE
INDICATED AT THIS JUNCTURE, SINCE THERE HAVE BEEN NO
UNUSUAL MEDICAL PROBLEMS AND SINCE THE AFFECTED
POPULATIONS, IN GENERAL, HAVE ACCESS TO THE SAME
MEDICAL CARE THAT THEY DID BEFORE THE FLOOD. SEVERAL
OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS HAVE SPONSORED THE SENDING OUT
OF SPECIAL + MOBILE CLINIC ; TO TREAT SPECIFICALLY
THOSE DIRECTLY-AFFECTED BY THE FLOODING. THIS EFFORT
SHOULD CONTINUE UNTIL IT IS CLEAR THAT THE SITUATION
WILL REMAIN STABLE.


15. CERTAIN OTHER NON-FOOD ITEMS WOULD BE OF USE,
THOUGH THESE DO NOT APPEAR TO BE URGENT NEEDS.
ADDITIONAL CLOTHING FOR FAMILIES WHOSE HOUSES WERE
FLOODED WOULD NO DOUBT BE MOST WELCOME, FOR EXAMPLE, AS
WELL AS KITCHEN SETS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST WHAT THEY
HAD. (FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS HAVE, IN MOST CASES,
LOANED THE DISPLACED THE MATERIALS NEEDED FOR COOKING,
BUT INDIVIDUAL KITCHEN SETS WILL PROBALBY BE NEEDED
WHEN THE DISPLACED LIVING-AND COOKING-IN GROUPS AT THE
PRESENT TIME RETURN TO FAMILY HOUSING.) LATER ON
(AFTER RECONSTRUCTION), SEED AND TOOL DISTRIBUTIONS
WILL BECOME IMPORTANT.


-----------------------------------------
POSSIBLE COURSES OF ACTION - GENERAL
-----------------------------------------


16. IN ADDITION TO CONTINUING FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS AND
PROVIDING NON-FOOD ASSISTANCE WHERE NECESSARY, THE
NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO
MOVE QUICKLY IN THE PROCESS OF DETERMINING WHERE THE
AFFECTED POPULATIONS WILL RECONSTRUCT HOUSING AND BEGIN
PROVIDING MATERIALS TO ENABLE THOSE IN NEED TO BEGIN
THE RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT.


THOUGH AT THE PRESENT MOMENT VIRTUALLLY EVERYONE IS
TALKING ABOUT + RESETTLEMENT TO SAFER AREAS ;, THESE
SENTIMENTS AND INTENTIONS MAY LOSE FORCE OVER TIME AS
PEOPLE SEE THE FLOOD WATERS RECEDE AND THEIR ORIGINAL
SITES BECOME ACCESSIBLE AGAIN. FURTHERMORE, IN
RESETTLEMENT PLANS THERE REMAINS THE COMPLICATED
QUESTION OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE FAMILIES WHO DID
NOT LOSE THEIR HOUSES (WHOSE HOUSES WERE MADE OUT OF
CEMENT BLOCKS, FOR EXAMPLE). DO THEY ALSO MOVE? IF
SO, DOES SOMEONE PROVIDE THEM RECONSTRUCTION SUPPORT AS
WELL?


THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE
AN OVERLY-AMBITIOUS CONCEPT OF RECONSTRUCTION, WHEREIN
THE GOVERNMENT-OR OTHER DONORS-DO NOT JUST SUPPLY
MATERIALS FOR A SMALL BASIC PERMANENT DWELLING, BUT
ACTUALLY BUILD LARGE NEW HOUSES-USING PAID LABOR-FOR
THE FLOOD AFFECTED POPULATIONS. SIMPLER-AND QUICKER-
SOLUTIONS TO RECONSTRUCTION NEED TO BE CONSIDERED AND
INITIATED, PREFERABLY IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.


17. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD POSITON ITSELF
TO MONITOR THE SITUATION CLOSELY, AND TO THE EXTENT
POSSIBLE, BE READY TO RESPOND-PARTICULARLY WITH FOOD,
BLANKETS, WATER AND MEDICINE-WHEREVER IT IS CLEAR THAT
THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT CAN NOT RESPOND IN A TIMELY
FASHION. EXTERNAL DONORS AND ACTORS MUST BE EXTREMELY
CAREFUL TO ONLY COMPLEMENT NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT EFFORTS,
AND NOT SEEM IN ANY WAY TO BE COMPETING WITH GOVERNMENT
ASSISTANCE. CLOSE COORDINATION WITH GOVERNMENT RELIEF
AGENCIES IS THUS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE.
INTERNATIONAL ACTORS AND DONORS MUST WORK IN THE
BACKGROUND AND ADOPT A PURELY SUPPORTIVE ROLE. THOUGH
THEY NEED NOT CHANNEL THEIR RESOURCES THROUGH THE
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, THEY MUST TAKE CARE AS TO NOT BE
SEEN TO BE OPERATING INDEPENDENTLY OF THE GOVERNMENT,
LEST THE GOVERNMENT PERCEIVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO
WITHDRAW AND SHIFT PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
RESPONSE TO THE DISASTER TO EXTERNAL ACTORS.


18. BOTH NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY SHOULD VERIFY THAT THERE HAS NOT BEEN
EXTENSIVE DAMAGE FURTHER DOWN THE RIVER FROM THE
ORIGINAL FLOODED AREA. THERE ARE UNCONFIRMED REPORTS,
FOR EXAMPLE, THAT SOME 40 VILLAGES IN YOBE STATE HAVE
ALSO BEEN AFFECTED, YET LITTLE ATTENTION SEEMS SO FAR
TO HAVE BEEN PAID TO THIS AREA. THE SITUATION MUST BE
CAREFULLY MONITORED UNTIL THE FLOOD PEAK FINALLY MAKES
ITS WAY TO LAKE CHAD OR CEASES TO BE A PROBLEM.


--------------------------------------------- -
POSSIBLE COURSES OF ACTION FDA SPECIFIC
--------------------------------------------- -


19. THE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL DONORS AND ACTORS AT THIS
POINT SHOULD BE TO COMPLEMENT-BUT NOT SUPPLANT -
NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT ASISTANCE WHEREVER THIS APPEARS TO
BE FALLING SHORT OF THE MINIMUM. THE USG $24,000
DISASTER GRANT TO THE IFRCS SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT FOR
USG INVOLVEMENT OF THIS SORT IN THE SHORT TERM, SINCE
NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE IS STILL BEING PROVIDED.
AS THE GOVERNMENT IS CURRENTLY ACTIVE IN ALL SECTORS-
SHELTER, HEALTH, WATER, FOOD, AND NON-FOOD NECESSITIES-
INTERVENTIONS CANNOT YET BE DEFINITIVELY PLANNED ALONG
SECTORAL LINES. IFRCS MIGHT, HOWEVER, FIND IT
PARTICULARLY USEFUL TO BE ACTIVELY INVOLED IN WATER AND
SANITATION EFFORTS, AS IT IS UNCLEAR THAT NIGERIAN
GOVERNMENT ATTENTION TO THIS IMPORTANT AREA HAS BEEN
UNIFORM AND CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT THE AFFECTED REGIONS.
LOCAL PURCHASE OF ADDITIONAL FOOD AND NON-FOOD ITEMS
SHOULD NOT BE EXCLUDED, HOWEVER, SHOULD CONDITIONS
WARRANT IT.


20. THE INEVITABLE SERIOUS LAPSES IN NIGERIAN
GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE SHOULD BECOME MORE READILY
APPARENT OVER THE NEXT MONTH. DURING THIS TIME,
USAID/NIGERIA AND ANY INTERESTED INTERNATIONAL NGOS
WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNIY TO DETERMINE MORE SPECIFICALLY
HOW THE GOVERNMENT EFFORTS MIGHT BEST BE COMPLEMENTED
AND TO DEVELOP RESPONSE PLANS AND PROPOSALS FOR
SUBMISSION TO OFDA OR OTHER USG AGENCIES. MUCH BETTER
AND DETAILED INFORMATION AS TO SUCH QUESTIONS AS TO
EXACTLY HOW MANY HOMES WERE DESTROYED AND WHAT
PERCENTAGE OF FARMERS LOST WHAT PERCENTAGE OF WHICH
CROPS SHOULD ALSO BE FORTHCOMING.


21. THE NEXT MONTH OR TWO SHOULD ALSO PROVIDE BOTH
USAID AND OFDA A CHANCE TO EVALUATE FURTHER THE GRAVITY
OF THE DISASTER BUT ALSO THE VALUE AND QUALITY OF THE
RESPONSE BY ANY INTERNATIONAL NGOS WHO BECOME INVOLVED,
AND THUS PROVIDE USAID AND OFDA CLEAR IDEAS REGARDING
WHO MIGHT BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE PARTNERS FOR FURTHER
ASSISTANCE TO THIS POPULATION.


22. A POTENTIAL AND VERY USEFUL ROLE FOR USG FUNDING TO
PLAY IN THE NEAR FUTURE MIGHT WELL BE IN THE
RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT, PROVIDING, FOR EXAMPLE, A SET,
STANDARD AMOUNT OF CEMENT, ROOFING MATERIALS, BRICKS,
DOORS AND WINDOWS TO EACH FAMILY PROVEN TO HAVE LOST
ALL PERMANENT HOUSING.


23. A SECOND POTENTIAL ROLE FOR USG-FUNDED PARTNERS
COULD WELL BE IN THE WATER-SANITATION DOMAIN, EITHER
REPAIRING DAMAGED WATER SOURCES IN THE ORIGINAL FLOODED
VILLAGES OR DIGGING NEW WELLS AT NEW RESETTLEMENT
SITES, DEPENDING ON THE HABITATION PATTERNS THAT
DEVELOP AS THE WATERS RECEDE.


24. CENTRAL TO BOTH OF THE ABOVE POTENTIAL ROLES FOR
USG-FUNDED PARTNERS WOULD APPEAR TO BE CLOSE
COORDINATION WITH THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT IN PLANNING
THE DISASTER RESPONSE, AND PARTICULARLY IN PROMOTING
THE RAPID DETERMINATION OF WHERE RECONSTRUCTION WILL
TAKE PLACE.


25. THERE IS AN INTERESTING POTENTIAL ROLE FOR USG/OFDA
FUNDING WITH REGARD TO FUTURE FLOOD MITIGATION. THOUGH
IT IS PERFECTLY CLEAR THAT THE FLOOD RESULTED FROM SOME
EXTRAORDINARILY HEAVY RAINS IN CLOSE SUCCESSION DURING
THE MONTH OF AUGUST, NO TECHNICAL STUDY HAS YET BEEN
ATTEMPTED TO DETERMINE WHAT, IF ANYTHING, COULD HAVE
BEEN DONE BEFORE OR DURING THE RAINS TO MITIGATE THE
EFFECTS. COULD, FOR EXAMPLE, SOME OF THE WATER IN THE
RESERVOIRS BEEN RELEASED IN SMALL QUANTITIES TO PREVENT
THE WATER COMING OVER THE TOP ALL OF A SUDDEN CREATING
A FLASH-FLOOD SITUATION AS OPPOSED TO A GRADUAL ONE?
THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY WOULD NOT BE TO ASSIGN FAULT,
BUT GIVEN THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME EVER THAT THIS
EXACTLY HAS HAPPENED-THE FIRST MAJOY FLOOD SINCE THE
DAMS WERE CONSTRUCTED-AND THAT IT IS NOT PRACTICAL TO
SIMPLY GIVE UP FARMING THIS LARGE AREA OF FERTILE LAND
JUST BECAUSE THERE IS THE POTENTIAL THAT SOME YEAR IN
THE FUTURE IT MIGHT HAPPEN AGAIN, IT WOULD BE USEFUL TO
NOW STUDY IN DETAIL THE CAUSES AND POSSIBLE MEANS OF
PREVENTING A REOCCURENCE SHOULD NEXT YEAR, OR THE YEAR
AFTER, THERE ONCE AGAIN BE HEAVY RAINS. RIGHT NOW, THE
AUTHORITIES ARE SAYING THEY WANT EVERYONE TO AT LEAST
MOVE TO THEIR RESIDENCES TO NEW LOCATIONS, AND MUCH OF
THE POPULATION, STILL TRAUMATIZED, HAS AGREED TO MOVE.
IF, HOWEVER, THE GOVERNMENT WILL AT SOME POINT GET
INTO A SITUATION WHERE IT MUST CONVINCE PEOPLE TO MOVE
TO HIGHER GROUND, THE DISCUSSION WILL BE MORE
PRODUCTIVE IT IS BETTER INFORMED, I.E. IF EXPERTS HAVE
LOOKED AT THE SITUATION AND DETERMINED THE DEGREE TO
WHICH A REOCCURENCE WOULD BE PREVENTABLE, GIVEN THE NEW
DISCOVERY THAT THIS IS A DANGER TO ALWAYS BE ON THE
LOOKOUT FOR.
ANDREWS

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