States cry as floods disaster loom
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has declared a ‘national disaster’ after many people died in severe floods across the country. Some state governments have complained of lack of capacity to handle the current situation, and have requested for prompt assistance as the flood continues the prowl.
“On behalf of the President & Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, @MBuhari, I, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, Director-General of @nemanigeria, hereby declare National Disaster in the following States: Kogi, Niger, Anambra, Delta
That was the distress message from the NEMA Director General, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, announcing emergency situation in four states after thousands of people were displaced following several weeks of heavy rainfall in some states. This followed the bursting of banks of Nigeria’s two major rivers, Niger and Benue, killing many people and sweeping away homes.
NEMA and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) previously warned of heavy floods in states along the banks of Rivers Niger and Benue, asking residents of communities in Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Edo, Kogi, Anambra, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta from the River Niger axis and Taraba, Benue and Adamawa from the River Benue axis to prepare for a similarity of the 2012 flood
The agency warned of a worse situation as water levels continued to rise in several areas, especially Lokoja, which is at the confluence of the two rivers and often badly affected during such situations.
NEMA spokesman, Sani Datti told CNN that five emergency operation centers had been created to coordinate search and rescue operations, while also providing humanitarian support for those displaced by the floods.
He also said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved $8.2 million for procurement of medical and relief materials to help victims. Reports from across the states however reveal a desperate situation.
Situation a national crisis-Gov. Bello
Governor Abubakar Bello described the situation as a national crisis which is beyond the capacity of his government, after the Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) confirmed that about 40 lives had been lost to flood this year with property valued at millions of naira including farmlands already destroyed. Six communities were submerged in Shiroro LGA.
Thousands kept in temporary shelters
In Kogi State, thousands of people are currently living in temporary shelters provided by the state government after being displaced. Checks by Daily Trust revealed that many have lost property, crops, farmlands and other valuables worth millions of naira.
Over 200 communities across the nine flood-prone local government areas in the state have been submerged, thus displacing thousands of people. Apart from residential buildings, schools, offices, shops, markets and worship places among others have been affected. Hundreds of residents of Ganaja Village in Ajaokuta LGA have been rendered homeless. Besides, motorists and commuters in the axis have hectic time passing parts of the Ajaokuta-Lokoja dual carriageway.
Many buildings on both sides of the highway have been submerged by water. Many travellers heading towards Benue, the eastern part of the country, Igala land and Ajaokuta were held in heavy traffic for many hours on Wednesday as the water level kept increasing. The situation provided avenue for young boys to make brisk business as they charged between N300 and N500 to push vehicles out of water.
Flood takes over Goodluck Jonathan’s community
Even Otuoke-Onuebum road in Ogbia LGA has been taken over by flood, as vehicles now ply alternative routes from Elebele Village, a distance to Otuoke, the home town of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, which is also home to a federal university.
A worker at university, Clever Ogbodi, told journalists yesterday that passengers were paying an increased fare of N400 instead of the N250 normally paid from Otuoke to Yenagoa.
He said: “This was how it happened in October 2012 when flood took over the whole community, but till now, there is no proper preventive measure.”
A resident of the community, Mrs. Azibator Omonibo, blamed the State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA) and the government for not properly utilising the Flood Intervention Fund she supposed was given to the state in 2012. She is obviously not aware that the same government is complaining of non-availability of the fund till date.