Hundreds of the Internally Displaced Persons in Bama Camp are at the risk of dying, according to the International Centre For Investigative Reporting.
On May 5, 2016, health workers were alerted that some people needed help within the Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camp in Bama, 70 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
(pictured is a plate of soup meant for seven people!)
On getting there, five women were seen lying on the ground, some gasping while others were barely conscious. Three of the women were with children, including a little girl sucking her mother’s breast while her brother lay on the ground with his head on the mother’s leg.
The only means of transportation in the camp are handcarts but by the time some were brought to transport the women to the clinic, two of them had died, one of them being the woman whose daughter was still sucking her breast.
The little children were separated from the dead mother and handed over to their grandmother, an elderly woman sitting nearby, who herself was so weak that she could only watch helplessly while her daughter died. The little boy died the following day.
The women’s corpses were left there in the open and only buried after 24 hours. This was because the men who were called to prepare the bodies for burial refused, as there was no water to wash the corpses and bathe themselves after the burial.
“They told me they had not had water to drink since morning and were dehydrated and too weak to do anything,” a health worker in the camp told the icirnigeria.org on condition of anonymity.
Health workers, camp officials and security agents said displaced persons in Bama face serious humanitarian crisis unless something is done urgently.
According to a report by a local non governmental organisation, NGO, Bama Community Peace Initiative, BAM-COPI, to the Protection Sector Working Group of Borno State under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, a daily death toll of 18 to 21 is recorded in the camp due to starvation, thirst and lack healthcare and poor hygiene.
“Food is cooked on a day in a very poor quality and low ration in all the six designated kitchens (each) with an average population of about 4,000 and above eating virtually once a day,” the report, signed by Ibrahim Mohammed, stated.
It added that from May 4 – 20, when the report was written, around 11 children aged between 0 – 15 were buried daily. Following the report, the icirnigeria.org learnt that a meeting was called by the UNHCR protection officer, with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, in attendance. At the meeting, a taskforce named Operation Save Bama was formed.
The taskforce met with the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, on June 1 and the following day the state emergency agency increased its presence in the camp.
Our reporter saw some trailers of relief items when he visited Bama on June 6, including one containing pots, but in spite of this, feeding has remained once a day. Most children in the camp look very malnourished and unkempt