With over 110,000 persons from no fewer than 2,769 households displaced; 24 communities submerged, there could be no better reason for a national CSR campaign in Makurdi. Landlords became IDPs; families who could fend for themselves suddenly became dependants living on relief materials (when available). Children held under the warmth of their parents’ home are now exposed to open-air habitation in temporary IDP camps. MSMEs and SMEs lost business capital as inventories and fixed assets were washed-away bythe flood: commercial buses, grinding mills, Barber Shops, Grocery stores, fashion stores and market stalls were total overtaken by flood.
Food security in Nigeria’s food basket is under threat as farmlands ripening for harvest were washed away by flood. Livestock in their Pens and those in open grazing have been swallowed by the flood; those which survived are starving in the absence of fresh foliage. Thus, the liabilities created by the flood flow down the agriculture value chain leaving the farmers’ purses koboless and their barns, empty.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) remain some of the key concerns aggravated by the flood. The rampaging flood had washed-up dumpsites, sewage wastes and other environmental wastes into water bodies and local streams making the areas susceptible to water borne diseases like Cholera. With clothing and beddings soaked or washed away, personal hygiene of the victims is also compromised.
The figures provided by the Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Boniface Ortese put the situation in proper perspective:
Source: Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency
Tuface, popular Nigerian artiste, after an on-site visit to the affected areas, has this to say, “the people I saw at the camp are hardworking Nigerians, who due to no fault of theirs have found themselves without shelter, food and basic items……..as you can see, this can happen to anybody and none of the victims planned for it, so we need to support them”. Truly, there is need for support. When the floods subside, reconstruction and rehabilitation become necessary; the already impoverished farmers would have to go back to the field, but not on an empty stomach; schools’ infrastructure destroyed by the flood need to be fixed for the children to return back to school. Until then, the unfortunate IDPs would need to food, clothing and decent shelter to stay alive, clean and warm. Effective CSR is needed in the face of this natural disaster to salvage the already deplorable situation.
Corporate organisations in Nigeria, from the North, South, East and West are enjoined to intervene in improving the lot of the Makurdi flood victims. All companies whose products are sold in Benue state are invited to fulfil their CSR in Makurdi; financial institutions that have branches and customers in Benue state are also enjoined to extend their CSR to the people of the state. Telecom operators and ISPs with business coverage and subscribers in Benue state need to identify with the people in their time of need. Haulage companies whose trucks ply Benue routes are not left out in this call for CSR to the Makurdi flood victims. Every corporate body having Benue indigenes in their employment are by this call reminded of the need to help ease-off the burden of the flood victims.
This call for CSR to the people of Makurdi is a demand for Nigerian Corporates to create positive social impact in the Benue communities ravaged by the flood.
Read more: The CSR Arena