Plateau, the State once known for its serene and accommodating nature has been turned into a theatre of crises and bloodshed in recent years.
Many residents have lost their lives in the senseless killings which have continued unabated for more than a decade. Adherent of Christian and Islam religions have persistently interceded for the return of peace to the once peaceful State.
Recently, the frenzy of killings took the lives of two prominent lawmakers from the State drawing outcry from near and far.
As if these are not enough, nature dealt another blow on the residents of the State as flood swept across many communities in the Capital killing scores, demolishing houses and rendering hundreds homeless.The heavy downpour which occurred for hours on Sunday, the 22nd of July, 2012 left residents of Rikkos Tudun, Gangare, Shehu Na Abba, Dilimi, Angwan Rogo among others counting their losses as almost 50 people lost their lives, more than 50 others missing and over 200 houses demolished.Some of the victims lost a whole family while some lost either a wife or the breadwinner and some children.
Among the victims, is a man, Abdulhamid Useni who lost seven of his 12 children, a woman of 90 and a baby were among several others lost their lives in the incident though two people were lucky to survive the flood after missing for three days.
According to Abdulhamid Useni, he was able to recover the corpses of six of his children but was still searching for the corpse of the seventh one.Speaking a day after the sad incident, Manasel Phampe, head of the Nigerian Red Cross in Plateau State said 20 bodies had been recovered in Gangare and 18 in Rikkos adding that the death toll was expected to rise as 68 people were still missing. The floods followed downpour which lasted for many hours between Sunday afternoon and early Monday. It caused the overflow of waterways, forcing River Rikkos to overflow its banks. The rampaging flood consumed everything on its path.Phampe continued, "So far, we have recovered 16 bodies but many others are still missing and the Publicity Secretary of Jama'atul-Nasril- Islam, Alhaji Faruk Umar added,"Already, we have just buried 14 bodies. Two bodies have just been discovered, but we are also still searching for more bodies because many people are still missing and more than 200 houses washed away".
Umar blamed what he described as "colossal damage", on the practice of building houses on waterways and blocking of drainage and called for a massive drainage evacuation to allow free flow of water.
To remedy the situation, officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), evacuated some of the displaced persons from Dilimi, Angwan-Rogo and Gangare to a nearby school and rendered assistance to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
Useni, lost seven children
Explaining the situation, an official of NEMA, Kazeem Olanrewaju, said on the day after the incident,"The figure of those affected is rather much and we expect the situation to be tougher with the Ramadan season but we shall do our best to help them," he said.
Another official, Mr Edward Maigida who is NEMA's Director, Relief and Rehabilitation, added at the College of Arabic and Islamic Studies where the displaced persons had been assembled that the Agency was counting the displaced persons to ascertain their number and work out immediate intervention before more lasting arrangements could be made.
Police spokesman Mr. Emmanuel Abu described the incident as a "natural disaster".
The affected settlements are prone to flood disasters with such cases reported every year. The Plateau State government expressed sympathy with the victims.
In a statement by Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yiljap Abraham, the government said: "The Plateau State Government commiserates with the families and surviving victims of yesterday's flooding in some communities in the city of Jos which has resulted in several deaths, missing persons and displaced of many families.
"Government is saddened by this unexpected natural phenomenon which has brought grief to the people in its wake."The governor urges citizens to pray against any situation that bring further pain and discomfort on the people."
However on the second day after the incident, the situation took a new turn as cholera broke out in the camp with children being the worst hit.
A medical team of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Plateau State chapter said a cholera outbreak has hit the camps with the leader of the team, Tawa Abdulrahaman, a
medical laboratory scientist, adding: "There are 65 cases of cholera recorded so far and we have referred them to our clinic for treatment. We are still around monitoring so as to attend to any other case available. We are monitoring closely so as to avoid its spread.
"The cholera, which is affecting mostly children, may have been as a result of contact with contaminated water in the course of swimming in the flood; most of them must have swallowed the bad water before they were rescued."
Also, the Plateau State Water and Resources Commissioner Idi Waziri, who visited the affected areas to commiserate with the victims, described the situation as sad.
The commissioner said a committee had been constituted by the State government to assess the flood sites for immediate action and for the provision of relief materials to the camps.
The Commissioner later visited the Chief Imam of Jos Central Mosque, Sheikh Balarabe Dawud, who received the visitors and expressed gratitude for the visit adding the incident would help to unite adherents of both religions.
At the time of writing this report, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had commenced the distribution of relief materials to the displaced persons assembled in two camps in Jos.
The Acting North Central Zonal Coordinator of the agency, Mr Adulsalam Muhammed, said the gesture was to bring succour to the victims.
The items distributed included bags of rice, millet, guinea corn, maize, beans, clothing and some household items.
On the third day after the incident, two survivors of the flood were rescued and taken to a medical centre for treatment.
A survivor at Rikkos Tudun who gave her name as Amina Abdul said the rain started at at 9pm after the rain had already fallen in the afternoon.
She said the water started seeping into their houses that night and they were trying to scoop them out while the men tried to lift vital items to higher height but before they knew what was happening, the
stream had overflowed its bank sweeping away everything in sight and the residents scampered for safety only for the water to sweep away those who could not have a firm foothold especially children and the aged.
Yet another survivor at Gangare, Yusuf Ango was escaped with his family said he lost everything he owned in the flood blaming it on people who build on waterways and those dumping refuse in them.
Ango called on residents to desist from such attitude and urged relevant agencies to come to their aids by clearing the waterways and giving rules on where to build.
With the victims of the disaster gnashing their teeth and counting their losses, the flood serves as a warning to those building their property on waterways to take caution and make amend so they do not fall victims before the rainy season .