Benue govt launches rapid Response Fund, pledges solutions to humanitarian crises

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

In a bid to find lasting solution and relief for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the state, Benue State Government in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has on Thursday, launched the Rapid Response Fund (RRF), designed to provide rapid humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and communities affected by natural and human-made disasters.

Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia while launching the project at the New Banquet Hall of Government House, Makurdi explained that the Rapid Response Fund initiative which was driven by IOM and funded by USAID-BHA (Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance) is a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts of the present administration towards addressing the humanitarian crises facing the state.

Represented at the event by the Deputy Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Barr. Dr. Sam Ode, mni, Governor Alia said the state had faced significant challenges over the years, including massive internal displacements due to armed conflict and widespread insecurity, and was optimistic that “This project holds great promise for both immediate relief and long-term resilience and our administration is committed to delivering home-grown solutions that are durable and sustainable in the face of displacement”.

“Under my leadership, the Government and all relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies will fully support the RRF project. We will continue to facilitate a conducive environment for humanitarian organizations to fulfill their mandates. I hereby direct the Durable Solutions Task Force to Support the implementations of this project and ensure that our people benefit maximally.

“While we are enthusiastic about the immediate relief provided by this initiative, our focus remains on achieving lasting solutions that are owned and driven by our communities”, he said.

The Governor therefore, extended his profound appreciation to IOM, USAID-BHA, UNFPA, UNHCR, and the entire UN agencies for supporting the RRF initiative and further requested the continued support and collaborative efforts of all partners in responding to the humanitarian needs of displaced persons in the state.

In her keynote address, USAID Mission Director, Ms. Melissa Jones, represented by Patrick Robbin, expressed happiness over the RRF project launch, which she said was the first humanitarian aid carried out by USAID, and also confirmed the United States commitment to alleviate the plight of vulnerable communities affected by herder-farmer crisis.

Ms. Jones therefore, thanked the Government of Benue State for developing a durable solution action plan to address the humanitarian crisis and assured government of USAID’s resolve to ensure that IDPs return to their ancestral homeland.

Also, in his remark, representative of IOM, Mr. John Asanya described RRF project as a funding mechanism designed to respond to human-made disasters in Nigeria which according to him was expected to last for three months, but due to the peculiarity of the humanitarian crisis in Benue, the project would last for six months, and will impacts over two hundred thousand IDPs living in over forty thousand households in the state.

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