Intense hunger as a result of inadequacy of food items in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in the outskirts of Bauchi, has forced adolescent children to feed on onion leaves for survival.
A visit to the camp, located about two km from Rindebin community in Bauchi local government area, shows that the children, between the ages of three and five, looked pitiful as they consume the leaves.
Some of their parents interviewed said there were no enough food, as such, they had to ‘improvise’ ways of tackling hunger, adding that they believe onion leaves were nutritious and would also protect their children from hunger and diseases.
One of the parents, Mrs Aisha Musa, said for the past one year, children and adults in the camp had been struggling to survive, with little or no assistance from any quarter.
Another parent, Mrs Ajidda Ahmed, said the hardship being encountered were enormous, adding that most of them had given up any hope of living a normal life.
“Both adults and children suffer from hunger. This has resulted in forcing us to eat raw onion leaves from sellers that come in to the camp.
“Rainy season is about to set in and another fear is the outbreak of childhood diseases because for the past one year, our children were not immunised and there are no water, sanitation and hygiene facilities
“We defecate in the bush and the rain water will soon wash our faeces back to the stream, where we source water to drink,” she lamented.
Children under two years in the camp were showing symptoms and signs of malnutrion. Commenting on the situation, the leaders of the IDP camp, Mr Bulama Gojja said there are over 200 of the Shuwa-Arab stock from Marte, Marfa and Jere local governments of Borno state, and that they were forced to relocate to the camp last year as a result of the activities of ‘Boko-Haram’ insurgents.
Gojja enumerated their challenges to include insufficient food items, lack of potable water, health facility and education for their children.
He said in 2018, no fewer than 20 pregnant women delivered in the camp without the required medical attention, expressing fears that the off-springs might develop health challenges due to lack of immunization.
He lamented that in spite of their efforts at drawing sympathy over their plight, assistance was not forthcoming from any quarters.
The leader therefore solicited for assistance from both government and non-governmental organizations, particularly in the areas of health, education, potable water and agriculture inputs like fertiliser, seed and herbicides to enable them engage in farming. (NAN)