32 lives lost to Kebbi flood, thousands displaced
• Hope dashed as search continues for two kids swept away by flood
• Lagos residents cry for help ahead of expected rainfall
No fewer than 32 lives have been lost, hundreds of houses destroyed and thousands of residents displaced by the devastating flood that sacked communities in Kebbi State.
Though according to the NiMET forecast, 11 local councils of out 21 are inclined to flooding, currently, there are already 15 highly risk local councils, which have been badly affected by the flood, while the remaining six are also feeling the impact.
At least, over 10 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps have sprang up in some of the affected councils to accommodate displaced residents. The flooding has wreaked havoc to houses, infrastructure like roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and even the Bagudo Prison, in Bagudo council area. The sacking of the prison, The Guardian learnt, necessitated the relocation of the inmates to Birnin-Kebbi correction facility on Friday.
Chairman of the State Emergency Management Authority (KSEMA), Alhaji Sani Dododo, yesterday, revealed that five different bridges had been washed away across the state.
The Birnin-Kebbi-Makera-Kangiwa road, an international highway, which runs from the state capital to Niger Republic, is at the risk of caving in at Duku. Some of the minor bridges and culverts along the highway are already caving in, following erosion caused by rising water overflowing the nearby River Rima.
Also, the Bagudo-Tuga-Kaoje route, which leads to Benin Republic border, including the Tuga Bridge, is also submerged, cutting border communities. Dododo, who confirmed the number of deaths recorded so far, said 10 people died in a boat that capsized at Ihiru in Jega Local Government.
“Only eight bodies have so far been recovered; a family of six – father, mother and children were wiped away in Arewa council area. We recorded one death in Yauri, among others. The numbers may increase, since we are experiencing rainfall daily.”
In Bagudo council area is the worst hit by the flooding, as it was learnt that 98 per cent of the villages were affected. Chairman of the council, Muhammadu Kaura Zaga, who described the development as unfortunate, said in the last 100 years, “we have never witness flooding of this magnitude. Majority of our people are badly affected, both their houses and farmlands were completely destroyed. We are just fortunate that only one person has died so far.”
The governor, Abubakar Bugudu, while on a visit to some of the communities at the weekend, directed immediate provision of food relief, water and construction of additional toilets to the displaced people in Bagudo council area.
“I was deeply touched. I promise to employ preventive measures by first renovating the drainages in Argungu and educating people against dumping of refuse anywhere and anyhow,” he said.
Kebbi is popularly known as a rice producing state and this tragedy experienced by farmers across the 21 local councils in the state is expected to lead to some food shortage in the coming months, as the flood had submerged many farmlands.
The state government has promised to assist farmers affected by the flood. In a statement by the Information Officer to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Murtala Muazu Kotomo, the SSG, Alhaji Babale Umar Yauri, said the state government would provide the farmers with seedlings, fertiliser, insecticides and other inputs ahead of upcoming dry season farming.
MEANWHILE, the hope of parents of two toddlers was shattered yesterday, after their two kids were swept away by flood in Ketu area of Lagos State during Saturday’s torrential downpour at Oyebanjo Solarin Street, Ketu.
The deadly blow was announced by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) in a situation report on Sunday after an extensive operation to find the missing children.
According to Nosa Okunbor, Head, Public Affairs, LASEMA, the agency’s response team, led by the Director of Operations, Pastor Olatunde Akinsanya, an engineer, extended the search to about 500 meters radius along the canal way, but the two children were still not found, more than 12 hours after they were swept away by the flood.
Though the operation was still ongoing as of press time, LASEMA said apart from the extended radius and deep inquiries around the neighborhood about the missing children, the agency was conducting public enlightenment on flooding and its dangerous repercussions to the residents and their properties.
“LASEMA also commenced sensitisation in the entire area on the need to desist from, and resist the urge to dispose their domestic and bodily wastes into the drainage systems, as it leads to blockage of the canal and water flow, which causes environmental degradation, flooding and eventually, lead to disasters, such as death or missing persons and collapsed buildings.”
Director-General of the agency, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, cautioned parents and guardians to take extra care of their children during and after the rainy season.
This is as residents of Old Ewu and Ogunyinka Mafoluku communities in Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area have cried to the state government to save them from incessant flood in the area.
The most affected streets include Ilare Close, Muse Oyinbo Close and Tijani Kashimawo Close, off 7/8 Bus Stop. Other affected places are Dominican School, Saint Jude Catholic Church and Domino Shop in Mafoluku, Oshodi.
The cause of the flood was traced to bad drainage systems and absence of drainage in some streets, hindering the free flow of water. Speaking for the residents, the Community Development Association (CDA) chairperson, Mrs Durotola Akinyemi, said they needed the help of the government to fix the drainages in the community.
She lamented: “Flood has taken over our community. We move around in rain boots despite the fact that we cleared the drainage last year. Yet, we are still experiencing flood. We need the intervention of government to fix our drainage to save us from the flood.
“Just one rainfall, everywhere in the community has turned to a pool and we cannot move in and out of our houses. What will be our fate when the rain continues intensely as predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Services (NIMET)?”
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