The raging flood, which has affected at least 12 states across the country, remains worrisome not only to the victims but also the government, as Rivers Niger and Benue continue to rise in volume, according to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
The current flood pattern, which experts say has shown indices of a similar natural disaster of 2012 in many parts of the country, has left hundreds of victims with tales of woes, with many others living in fear.
A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) showed that some lives have been lost while farms, houses and livestock destroyed as floods ravage communities most parts of North-Central Nigeria, the region said to be most hit in this year flood.
NAN correspondents who visited some of the affected areas in the region, report that many communities, especially those contiguous to Rivers Niger and Benue, have been submerged and in the process, victims have been relocated to camps opened by respective governments or seek refugee with relations.
The agency reports that worst hit states are: Kogi, Niger, Taraba, Benue and Plateau with Kogi having Lokoja, Ibaji, Koton-Karfe, Bassa, Igalamela, Omala, Ajaokuta, Ofu and Idah councils so far affected.
Residents of the affected local government areas have been relocated to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps or taking refugee with friends and relations house.
Parts of the Lokoja-Abuja road has also been threatened by the ever increasing floods. According to Alhaji Alhassan Aiyegba, Executive Secretary,Kogi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), 64 communities have been submerged by the flood.
“There are camps for the displaced persons, but the situations gets worse every minute,’’ Aiyegba said.
Mr Sanusi Yahaya, the Commissioner for Environment and Natutral Resources, in the state also told NAN that the situation was becoming much frightening as more communities were being submerged in Lokoja, the state capital.
“Government has set up a camp for the flood victims in Lokoja, the capital city. The worst hit areas are Wada Estate and the Old Poly Quarters,’’ he said.
He said that the state government was collaborating with relevant stakeholders to ensure that relief materials and the essential facilities were provided in the camp.
“We have had challenge of water supply, but that has been resolved. Light and a clinic are other challenges because the camp has not been connected to the national grid. But since it is an emergency, we will be solving the problems as they are identified.
“Accommodation is still adequate for the number of people that are in the camp so far, and the camp can still accommodate more people.
“Officials of NEMA visited the IDP camps in Koton-karfe few days ago and on their way to Lokoja with other team sent by the Federal Government,” Yahaya said.
The commissioner advised residents of flood-prone communities to immediately relocate to safer places to avoid loss of lives and property.
Yahaya noted that all the indices in place before the 2012 flood occurred had manifested.
Mr James Ahmadu, Director of Relief and Rehabilitation of the Kogi State Emergency Management Agency, told NAN that the flood victims had been trooping into camps in Lokoja in their large number since it was set up.
Ahmadu said that the data of the victims were being accommodated as they arrived, adding that about 100 households had arrived the camp.
“Many victims are still coming with majority of them being women and children,” Ahmadu said.
Mr Umar Zakari, the Camp Leader, said that most of the victims were from Adankolo quarters where he said property, foodstuff and farms were totally destroyed by flood.
He commended the state government for the temporary accommodation provided for victims and urged relevant stakeholders to join with government to cushion the effect of the natural disaster.
“We thank government for providing water, but we need food, mosquito nets, light and clinic. Our children are getting sick,” Zakari said.
NAN reports that Kogi government had earlier set up five camps in Kotokarfe, where about 64 communities have been submerged by flood.
Among the submerged communities are highly populated settlements like Akpaku, Akpo, Ajara, Banda, Kpakpasu, Ozale, Opkakere, Agbawu and Adabode, among others.
Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasir Ajanah, has disclosed that the High Court complex, in Koton-Karfe was among structures submerged by flood.
He said the court would be relocated “to ensure that the development does not affect the dispensation of justice.”
Ajanah, while assessing the extent of damage on the submerged complex, also said that the relocation became imperative to arrest the perennial breaks in the administration of criminal justice in the area.
“The busiest prison yard in the state is located is this town. So, it is important that we relocate the court from here to another location within the town.
“That is the most important thing to do now because this is a very busy place”, he said.
Ajanah said the cost of putting up a new complex for the High Court and the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Koton-Karfe would be included in the state supplementary budget.
He expressed optimism that the supplementary budget would be approved and money released.
As more displaced persons rush to IDPs camps in the state, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kogi chapter, has donated drugs to victims camps in Kogi and Kotonkarfe.
Dr Kabiru Zubair, the state Chairman of the association, handed over the drugs to local government officials at the camps in Ogbakwu and Edeha communities.
Zubair said: “We decided to visit the IDPs camps in Kotonkarfe to support and sympathise with them.
The visit is also to educate them on hygiene in order to maintain clean environment and avoid outbreak of communicable diseases.
“Today, we have donated drugs such as Vitamin C, anti-malaria, antibiotics to the camps’ to aid in the management of some common diseases likely to occur in this kind of situation.
“We have also sensitised them on health education in order to avoid outbreak of cholera and other communicable diseases, because prevention is better than cure.”
The chairman also said that the chapter was also collaborating with the state government to provide manpower in the clinics in the camps.
According to him, doctors will be on ground in all the camps throughout the period of the flood to ensure that patients are well managed.
The situation appears the same in Taraba where hundreds of farmlands have already been submerged.
Our correspondent, who visited some of the areas in the state reports that the situation had been compounded by the release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroun with hit Local Governments being Gassol, Ibi,Lau and Karim Lamido.
In Gassol, flood has destroyed mass of farmlands while the council Chairman, Mr Yahuza Yau, confirming that two bridges had been damaged.
Yau said the council has set up a committee to compile the list of villages affected while residents of villages along river Benue have been advised to relocate.
Benue, severely hit last year, flood is also facing similar experience this year, though on a much smaller scale so far.
NAN investigation also revealed that Wadata, High Level, Wurkun, Guma, Otukpo, and Logo Local Governments, hit last year, had yet to suffer major flood damage this year. However, to forestall colossal damage, the Benue State Government has dug drainage in most parts of Makurdi and constructed several canals where flooding was massive last year.
According to Emmamnuel Shior, Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency, major water channels have been opened to avoid floods.
He said people were being sensitised to take care of the environment and avoid building near river or blocking water ways.
NAN learnt that Makurdi International Market was being prepared for people that might be affected by floods.
At the city centre, NAN found that people in flood-prone areas had mobilised themselves to evacuate blocked drainage.
In Niger, NAN found a more devastating situation with Bosso Local Government with record of some deaths.
In Shiroro Local Government, the story was devastating with communities like Nungu, Ungwan Bagudu, Rafin Gora, Mashigi, Ungwar-Abok submerged by flood while the IDPs were sheltered at the Zungeru Primary School.
In Lapai Local Government Area, it was a picture of farms, houses and livestock destroyed but Gov Abubakar Sani, who visited the area promised to look into ways to control the menace.
In Plateau, floods were being experienced in the traditional areas comprising Ungwan Rogo and other settlements along Bauchi road.
Alhaji Alhassan Barde, the Executive Secretary,Plateau Emergency Management Agency, blamed the recurrent flood in the area on residents’ stubbornness.
“People get unnecessarily stubborn; they keep building houses along waterways and in water logged areas, year after year.
“Sometimes, they ignore advice to relocate in the face of imminent danger, until it is too late. This is sad,’’ he lamented.
The Commissioner of Environment, Abdullahi Abbas, however, told NAN that everything was being done to check the menace.
“The flood was devastating in the past, especially in 2012; we do not want a repeat.’’
Kano State Govt. approves N100m to support flood victims
Kano State Government has approved N100 million as direct financial assistance to victims of flood disaster which ravaged 15 local government areas of the state.
The state commissioner for Information, Malam Mohammed Garba disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Kano yesterday.
Garba said the state government found it necessary to give immediate direct support to flood victims in the eight affected local government areas of the state in view of the magnitude of the disaster.
He , however, called on the federal government for special intervention to further alleviate the sufferings of the affected communities.
Adamu urges Fed Govt to boost strategic reserve
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, yesterday called for enhancement of the nation’s strategic reserve following fears of food shortage owing to the spate of flooding in the country.
Adamu (APC-Nasarawa State), made the call in an interview with NAN in Abuja.
He said it had become necessary for the nation to enhance its strategic reserve of the various food items.
He called on the Federal Government to ensure price tag for every commodity as a way of forestalling food shortage in the country.
Fed Govt pledges more resources to areas affected by flood in Anambra
The Federal Government has pledged to deploy more relief materials to ameliorate the plight of flood victims in Umueze Anam in Anambra West Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra state.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the promise yesterday when he visited the state to assess the flood situation.
“I flew over those disaster areas and I witnessed the rise especially in Onitsha, Ogbaru, Awka North, Coscharis farm and other places.
“We have directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to continue deploying relief materials to various Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and some settlements whose residents have refused to evacuate from their homes,” he said.
Osinbajo, who noted that the federal government had earlier released some materials for the displaced persons, said his visit was to have an on-the-spot assessment of the real situation on ground.
Governor Willie Obiano said his government had heeded early warnings by meteorologists and taken proactive steps to contain the eventuality.
According to him, such steps include establishment and equipment of 29 Holding Centers across the flood-prone areas, activation of relevant emergency response activities among others.
Obiano said government had commenced collation of data on the displaced families, adding that with support from the federal government, it will provide them succour to enable them resettle after the deluge.
Edo govt directs flood victims to relocate to IDPs camp
The Edo State government has directed victims of the flooding in Etsako Central and Etsako East Local Government Areas to relocate to the camp created for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu gave the directive yesterday in Anegbette when he toured some of the affected communities.
Shaibu assured the victims that government had made provisions for food, relief materials, health facilities and security at the IDPs camp pending the time the floodwater would recede.
He underscored the need for the urgent evacuation of the flood victims to a safe location, adding that flooding could cause the outbreak of diseases.
One of the flood victims, Mr Umaru Aminu, appealed to the government at all levels to come to their aid, saying that the flood incident had adversely affected them.
He said that the flooding had taken over their farms and stopped their children from going to school.
Winners’ Chapel donates
The Living Faith Church (Winners’ Chapel), Lokongoma, Phase One, Lokoja on Thursday donated foodstuff to flood victims at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Lokoja.
Pastor Ben Oluyemi, the State pastor of the church, while handing over the items to the camp leader at flood hostel in Wada Estate, Lokoja, said the church was there to give help to alleviate the suffering of the flood victims.
“We came to the IDP camp to represent our father in the Lord, Bishop David Oyedepo, whose custom is to always to help the needy. We are here with his permission to help the flood victims.
“The church is the light of the world that is delivering the world out of poverty, lack, sickness and disease, and from all oppressions of the devil,” Oluyemi said.
The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Bayelsa chapter, says apart from flooding, portfolio farmers are also hampering the development of rice production in the state.
Mr Ezekiel Ogbianko, the Chairman of the association, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Yenagoa, called on both the federal and state government to come to their aid.
“We are making progress in terms of rice farming in Bayelsa, but the challenges here are very enormous; they range from flooding to portfolio farmers.
“The association is preparing for the dry season harvest, but the rain is not helping us; some of our lands at Ondowarie, Otuokpotu in southern-Ijaw Local Government Area have been submerged by flood.
“Accessing the lands are difficult; we want the three tiers of government to help us; in the season’s harvest, we are expecting 4, 000 tonnes of rice because our plan is to make the local rice available for our people.”
The Katsina State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said it had registered 731 victims of flood in Baure Local Government Area of the state.
Alhaji Haruna Rigoji, the SEMA Executive Secretary said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Baure on Thursday that the houses of 75 victims were completely destroyed.
He added that the flood, recorded in Maibara district of the local government, also left 252 properties seriously damaged and 404 with partial damages.
He assured that the agency would provide those whose houses were completely destroyed with alternative plots in safer areas and building materials to put up new structures.
NYSC: no cause for alarm
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has said that there was no cause for alarm over the safety of corps members posted to serve in the areas affected by flooding in Anambra.
The Coordinator of the NYSC in Anambra, Mr Kehinde Aremu, gave the assurance to corps members and Nigerians in an interview with NAN yesterday in Awka.
Aremu said the scheme had asked employers who requested for Corps members to go to the various Local Government Headquarters for proper documentation of acceptance process.
He disclosed that those already serving in the affected places had been directed to move upland.
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