Emmanuel Onyejena writes on some individual efforts being made by some public spirited Nigerians to alleviate the sufferings of the recent flood victims in Anambra State.
Although the recent floods that displaced an estimated 700,000 persons from 60 communities and six local government areas of Anambra State may have receded, the effects of the natural disaster are still very visible as people begin to pick pieces of what is left of their lives in the aftermath of the floods. To help the victims make a meaning of restarting their shattered lives and livelihood, a prominent son of Anambra State, Nze Sullivan Akachukwu Nwankpo, Chairman of Dionysius Nwankpo Foundation, recently set up a and not-for-profit organisation, appropriately named "Anambra Responds".
â€âÂ€Â¹Flagging off the organisation, which works with volunteers from the affected communities at Onitsha recently, Nwankpo said: "Anambra Responds is an initiative inspired by a strong belief that the can-do spirit, resources and energy of the people of Anambra state is greater than any problem that may face them as individuals and a group. This strength can take us to any height when fully harnessed."
â€âÂ€Â¹Nwankpo further elaborated on the objectives of Anambra Responds: "It is an intervention to mobilise the great resources of Anambra State and her friends to deliver effective post-flooding support for resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in communities affected by the flood." He explained the that foundation took the initiative "because we are aware that the problem of this flood will get bigger even as the flood recedes."
â€âÂ€Â¹Nwankpo who presently doubles as the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Technical Matters and Secretary of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), explained the motive for establishing the NGO which is a personal initiative. According to him, "Anambra Responds is a platform we have set up to make it easy for us to come to help fellow Anambra people in this hour of their greatest need".
â€âÂ€Â¹The "Anambra Responds" project has as its slogan "Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction". The agency has recruited thousands of young people, able-bodied men, women, and indeed individuals moved by the spirit of service to humanity. There are also corporate and professionals bodies who have enlisted in the efforts toward giving back livelihood to the internally displaced people (IDPs) under the aegis of the foundation.
â€âÂ€Â¹"If you have assisted before, please do more", Nwankpo appealed to volunteers noting that "the needs of the victims are very huge". He therefore outlined the immediate needs of the IDPs to include, Provision of shelters for the returnees from various camps, Clean water for drinking and for other domestic needs• Medical supplies and test equipment, foodstuff, clothing, mattresses and other sleeping materials, fumigation chemicals/materials and mosquito nets, fishing nets, seedlings, cassava sticks and other agricultural and fishing materials.
However, Nwankpo, who holds two traditional titles of Oputa Ifeadi (meaning one whose appearance illuminates a dark place) and Odozi Mba (the developer), made it clear that the organisation does not and would not directly accept or manage cash donations on behalf of victims. According to him, "We have arranged a church group to receive and manage cash donations. Therefore individuals, groups and organisations, wishing to make cash donations should pass such donations to our committee of Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal clergy to deliver to the victims."
â€âÂ€Â¹Commending previous assistance rendered to the flood victims by the Federal and state governments as well as other individuals and organisations, the Presidential Adviser said no amount of assistance could be considered as enough, so far as there remained a single flood victim not yet settled back in his or her original habitat.
To this end, Nwankpo said "Anambra Responds would continually help the flood victims whose environment, homes, farmlands, businesses and virtually every means of livelihood were badly affected until they have been properly rehabilitated, resettled, and have their lives fully back again. "
Already the work of Anambra Responds has reached several communities in the state six local government areas affected by the flood. These are Ogbaru, Ihiala, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum and Awka North, all of which had received lorry loads of relief materials ranging from food stuff, clothes, drugs and livestock like cows. Everywhere Nwankpo's team went, victims at the camps showed deep appreciation at such great and inimitable large-heartedness as exhibited by the former Seminarian turned management guru and Presidential adviser from Okija, in Ihiala LGA.
Anambra Responds has three groups of people helping it to deliver on its programmes, namely, donors, partners and volunteers, all categorised according to their functions which include: Donor is any individual or organisation who has something of value to give to the victims. Donors may send items to designated collection centres, or pay directly for relief items at a discount through selected banks.
A Partner is an organisation that offers support to our process to enable Anambra Responds better to achieve her objectives. Partners include NGOs, manufacturers, suppliers, logistics, companies who offer services, facilities or discounts. Partnership with Anambra Responds begins with the donation of any range of products by manufacturers or delivered to the organisation at discounted rates not higher than distributors' price.
A Volunteer is an individual who offers labour, skilled services and time without commensurate pay in order to help flood victims. Normally volunteers are expected to assist victims in their camps or communities, supply information on their needs and participate in the campaign to get donors to join the relief effort.
Nwankpo's Anambra Responds has adopted a very unique way of bringing succour to the IDPs. For instance, it is not directly involved in the distribution of relief items, though it has set up warehouses in various places near the refugee camps. Thus relief materials received from donors and partners are first warehoused at these locations and subsequently transported to the camps and handed over to victims directly.
The initiative is costing Nwankpo several millions of naira. But the ebullient workaholic and father of five, does not want to go on record discussing figures, saying "it is better to give without counting the cost".