By Peter Amine
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Riyom Town Hall camp in Plateau are complaining of starvation, degradation and in inhuman condition.
Aside from insufficient food and sustenance, they also complain of sleeping on the bare floor.
Mr John Langai, one of them, told a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), that many of them had been forced to seek refuge in the camp since June when their communities, Bachit and others were attacked by insurgents.
Langai said that they had been living in “degrading and dehumanising” conditions ever since they moved to the camp.
“Many of our people were killed, our houses burnt by the attackers and our farms destroyed.
“Those of us who survived have nothing to eat, in fact we have been starving.
“We don’t have what to sleep on as you can see the women laying on the bare floor over there.
“Many have contacted diseases due to overcrowding and some have even died as a result,” he said.
Mrs Blessing Gyang, a survivor who lost five members of her immediate family including two of her brothers, described life in the camp as terrible.
“People queue to use the toilet provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
“Many people, especially women, have contacted different kinds of diseases from the toilets,” she said.
She, however, commended the ICRC for the assistance it had rendered to the IDPs in terms of food and other supplies.
Chief Gyang Dalyop, District Head of Bachit, appreciated the ICRC delegation led by its Regional Director for Africa, Patricia Danzi, for the intervention during a visit to the camp.
Dalyop, however, said the utmost priority of the IDPs was to return to their ancestral homes.
The district head appealed to ICRC to assist in the resettlement of the people to their homes where they could live normal lives again.
Danzi said “seeing people displaced is a sad story because it is a story of lost, a story of desperation and often a story of stigma.
“Some of the women have lost their husbands and some of them lost some dignity and this is truly a sad story.
“Life in the camp is never good and we will be happy if the people return to their homes,” she said.
The regional director said that even though it was difficult to immediately meet the needs of the displayed people, she however, assured that ICRC would see what it would do differently to still assist them.
She called for the involvement of women in peace meetings, considering how pragmatic they might be as the worst hit. (NAN)