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14 IDPs killed, 1,250 shelters destroyed by fire in Borno


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No fewer than 14 persons were burnt to death with 1,250 shelters destroyed in a fire outbreak in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State.

Rep. Zainab Gimba, representing Bama/Ngala/Kalabalge constituency in Borno, made this disclosure in an interview with the Dailytimes in Maiduguri on Thursday.

Gimba said that 15 persons sustained various degrees of injuries, while property including food stuffs were destroyed by the Thursday inferno.

She said that dozens of households in the camps were displaced during the fire outbreak which gutted almost half of the shelters at the camp.

The lawmaker said that the incident had further compounded the plight of the IDPs.

“I wish to sincerely sympathize with the victims of today’s fire disaster.

“I am deeply shocked and touched. For those that lost their loved ones, please accept my heartfelt condolences, for those that sustained injuries, I wish them quick recovery.

“I am also mindful of the fact that the next few weeks will be difficult because it is not easy to be an IDP and homeless at the same time, but very soon Insha Allah, I will send relief materials to cushion the hardships,” she said.

Gimba appealed to the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), NEMA, and UN Humanitarian organisation to come to the aid of the displaced victims.

When contacted, Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, Chairperson of SEMA, described the incident as “unfortunate” noting that it came at a time when the state was faced with another humanitarian challenges of preventing COVID-19.

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Kolo said that a team of the agency would conduct on the spot assessment to ascertain level of damages incurred as a result of the fire incident with a view to providing immediate humanitarian support to the affected victims.

She said that the agency would adopt proactive modalities to prevent future recurrence of the incident.

It would be recalled that a similar incident occurred in less than 24 hours when fire destroyed 700 shelters and rendered thousands of IDPs homeless at a camp in Mafa local government area in the state.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to investigate and report the circumstances leading to a fire incident at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Borno State.

The President gave the directive in a condolence message by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday.

He described the incident which led to the death of 14 persons and many sustained injuries as “extremely horrifying.”

While directing that urgently needed assistance be immediately given to the victims, President Buhari also asked the ministry to advice on how to avert future occurrence.

He prayed to almighty God to repose the souls of those whose lives were lost, and the quick recovery of the injured persons.

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Augustine Aminu

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