By Zainab Yetunde Adam
About 30 damaged and overflowing toilets were on Saturday, July 2, evacuated and fixed by the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) at Filin-Ball IDP camp in Old-Maiduguri, The Humanitarian Times can report.
In what appeared as a swift response to the report, UNICEF contracted a local sewage and drainage company to carry out a total evacuation and desludging of the toilets.
A The Humanitarian Times reporter who was at the camp to follow up on the situation sighted the personnel of the drainage company evacuating at least 30 toilets. The draining company had also repaired broken slabs of soak-aways as well as disinfected the surroundings with chlorine.
The Humanitarian Times reporter spoke to some of the camp officials as well as inhabitants of the IDP camp who expressed happiness about the desludging exercise.
The camp chairman, Abba Kaka, said he was impressed with UNICEF’s prompt response to the situation in the camp.
“I am happy that our children can use the toilet at any time without experiencing any difficulty now, ”he said.
Abba Kaka prayed the camp inhabitants would avoid defecating inside nylon and dumping refuse inside soak-away to maintain a healthy environment.
A WASH Committee member in the camp, Yagana Shettima-Kullima joined Mr Kaka in expressing her joy about the intervention even as wished the WASH sectors would be visiting the camp every two or three months “to have first-hand knowledge of hygiene practise in the camp.”
“Timely evacuation of toilets will ease the suffering we encounter because the toilets are not enough for us,” she said.
“These here are supposed to be used for defecation only but people bath inside, making the toilets fill up early.”
The experienced WASH volunteer also called on relevant WASH actors to frequently provide them with sanitary items such brooms, buckets, detergent other disinfectants to sanitize the toilet.
Another WASH Volunteer in the camp, Zainabu Hassan, also thanked UNICEF “for coming to our aid because, without them, we cannot sit here or empty the filled-up toilets even though we need them to give us sanitary items.”
UNICEF’s intervention at Filin-Ball Camp has no doubt saved an ugly situation that would have been a major recipe for epidemics. It is hoped that such timely intervention would be replicated in other IDP camps in need of such services.