Relief and Hope Reignited as NGO Extends Lifeline to Starving IDPs in Plateau State

In the midst of despair and devastation, a glimmer of hope on 22 July emerged for the displaced communities in Plateau State as a local nonprofit – Emancipation Center for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN) stepped in with a lifeline of aid supplies. 

At the time of the delivery of the supplies at midday local time, over 80,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Mangu and surrounding towns located south of Jos the State capital had grappled with starvation for several days according to their leaders.

However, with the timely intervention of ECCVN, a renewed sense of relief and hope has swept through the IDP camps, rekindling the faith that they will endure these trying times.

What happened?

More than 50 villages 20 to 42miles south of Jos have experienced bloody attacks leading to more than 350 deaths since 16 May according to media reports. The attacks which have concentrated in the Mangu Local Government Area have led to more than 200,000 displacements according to town leaders. At least 80,000 are currently taking shelter in 11 IDP camps in Mangu, the local government headquarters according to Markus Artu, the LG Chairman.

Since their displacements, the IDPs have faced unimaginable hardship, with limited access to food, water, and basic amenities, said Markus Gumesh who coordinates activities at the camps.

“Even as I speak, they have not eaten for six days now,” said Gumesh prior on 22 July prior to the delivery of aid by ECCVN. “We have incurred over N11million in debts to hospitals treating our injured members and all these have added to our sorrow,” Gumesh said.

ECCVN Steps in

The situation has drawn widespread concern, highlighting the urgent need for collective action.

ECCVN, known for its relentless efforts in providing humanitarian aid in disaster-stricken regions, wasted no time in mobilizing resources to alleviate the suffering in Plateau State. Their convoy of relief supplies, including food, clothes, medical assistance, and essential items, reached the IDP camps, drawing tears of gratitude and joy from those who had almost lost hope.

Solomon Dalyop, the Chief Executive Officer of ECCVN said the donations which amounted to a total of N8million were born out of compassion and the need to inspire the displaced communities to hold onto hope and believe in the resilience of the human spirit. 

Beneficiaries include woman who gave birth with a bullet to her chest 

A breakdown of the total value of the intervention shows N120,000 cash went to Ms. Eunice Simon, nursing mother who gave while being treated for bullet wounds sustained during the attack on 16 May in the ninth month of her pregnancy.

Simon, a mother of five was shot in the chest and leg in the ninth month of her pregnancy while struggling to escape an armed invasion by more than 500 terrorists who surrounded her village of Jwak Mai Tumbi. The Fulani speaking terrorists shouting “Allahu Akbar” [God is great] according to her set fire to houses including hers, while releasing automatic gunfire on residents as they tried to flee. 

While everyone else including her husband and children were able to escape, she was shot by a familiar Fulani resident of the village who left her for dead on the outskirts of the town.

She was later found by civilian self defense guards who rushed her to hospital where she gave birth to a baby girl three hours later. Eunice told our correspondent, since the incident, she has occasionally received small food rations and beddings from donors, but none has assisted with her hospital bills.

Also, N1,000, 000 went to other IDPs in Mangu as medical support. Another N90,000 was handed the camp officials for the purchase of petty foodstuffs in addition to several bales of clothes and about 50 bags of rice and beans for the IDPs in Mangu. Another N500,000 went to the medical aid of other IDPs in a nearby Fan District of Barkin Ladi LGA alongside over 30 bags of grains. Also, N500,000 went to the aid of hospitalized victims in Heipang district also in Barkin Ladi.

“In the face of immense adversity, they need to know they have allies who are able to stand with them, ready to extend a helping hand,” said Dalyop.

“We are intervening in various other ways including media advocacy, legal interventions and other efforts to see that attention is given to your plights. But before that comes from the government authorities, we with the support of our partners overseas have deemed it fit to bring this little support in the meantime,” he said, calling for more support for the IDPs.

Sigh of relief and hope

“I feel life has began anew for me,” said Simon after she was handed N120,000 cash to aid with her medical bills.

“Only God can reward you for this act of kindness,” she said, holding her baby and bundle of cash given by ECCVN.

The donations to the Mangu IDPs “will go a long way in alleviating their sufferings,” said Gumesh after receiving the items and cash donation at Pilot Primary School Mangu which serves as one of the camps for IDPs.

“We lack words to appreciate you,” Gumesh said.

“This donation has given us strength to move on,” also said Ishaya Markus, a town leader in Fan. “We did not offend anyone but we were attacked and chased out of our homes,” said Markus while receiving the donations in Nding village in Fan hours after same was done in Mangu. “At a point we felt neglected but you have rekindled our hope and joy,” he said.

The Village Head of Heipang, Tadi Tok who later received the donation on behalf of victims in his area, expressed wish there were more organizations like ECCVN. “We don’t have words to speak but to say thank you for the donations,” said Tok in his Palace during the donation by ECCVN.

Dalyop however called for adequate protection for residents to enable them return to their homes and livelihoods.

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