The deluge of floods ravaging several areas in the country has been worsened by the release of water from the Lagdo Dam in northern Cameroun at the weekend submerging several settlements in the riverine areas of eleven local governments of Adamawa State, killing at least three people and displacing thousands of families. Many more were reportedly missing.
Worst-hit areas are in Fufore, Girei, Yola South, Yola North, Demsa, Numan, Lamorde, Shelleng, Michika, Guyuk and Ganye local governments.
Our correspondent reported that much of the flooding occurred at night while victims were asleep leaving them with no opportunity to salvage property
In Yola North and Yola South numerous settlements in flood-prone areas in the outskirts of the state capital bore the brunt of the flooding even though the state ministry of environment had been issuing warnings on likelihood of flood in the areas.
It was also learnt that the Camerounian authorities had issued notices on the impending release of water from the Lagdo Dam in compliance with the terms of a bilateral agreement with Nigeria since the spill-over from the dam flows into the Benue River which runs through Adamawa, Benue and other states.
The secretary of the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Shedrack Barub confirmed the release of water from the Camerounian dam occurred on Saturday due to excessive rain and revealed that the agency had already commenced an assessment tour of affected areas. All residents of the flood-prone region along River Benue Basin have been told to relocate.
The Adamawa State government has also set up a quick response committee headed by the secretary to the state government, Mr. Kobis Aris who told reporters yesterday that public enlightenment and ascertaining the extent of flooding was on-going.
He confirmed that the state government was informed of the impact of heavy rains on the Lagdo Dam necessitating opening of its flood gates to release water.
About 3,000 internally displaced person have been camped across the state as relief efforts begin.
Meanwhile, four persons have been confirmed dead and hundreds of houses destroyed in the devastating floods that swept through four local government areas of Katsina State.
LEADERSHIP gathered yesterday that three persons died in the flood disaster that occurred in three villages of Safana local government area while a middle -aged lady died in the flood at Kurfi local government area.
The executive director of Katsina State Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (RERA), Hassan Rawayau, told our correspondent that the situation was pathetic, adding "the magnitude of the destruction is alarming".
Rawayau, who is the acting chairman of the state flood and emergency committee, however, declined to comment on measures being taken by the state government, insisting that his committee would soon submit its report.
He said, "I cannot say precisely what the Katsina State government will do for now unless we compile our report after assessing the entire situation and submit it to government for further necessary action."
The latest incident came barely two days after a heavy downpour destroyed 1,400 houses in Maiadua local government area of Katsina State. More rains washed away no fewer than 100 houses and over 130 farmlands at Kofa and Tulani villages of Kusada local government area of the state in overnight floods at the weekend.
Eight people who sustained injuries are receiving treatment at the Kankia General Hospital and Katsina General Hospital.
A victim, Musa Mannir, who lost his house and some domestic animals, said he had not witnessed such heavy rain in his over 40 years on earth.
He said: "I have lost virtually everything I have laboured for in the whole of my life but am grateful to Allah that no life was lost," and appealed for support.
Among early sympathisers to the victims was the transition management committee chairman of Kusada local government, Alhaji Mansur Murnai, who constituted a 12-man committee to assess the destruction and pledged the council's resolve to provide support to the victims. Murnai urged them to see the disaster as ordained by God and directed the local government's department of works to provide estimates for the construction of drainages in the area.
The minority whip of Katsina State House of Assembly, Alhaji Shehu Dalhatu Tafoki (CPC, Faskari), has urged the state government and relevant stakeholders to assist the victims in a press statement he issued sympathising with the victims.
Flood kills 4 in Niger
Four persons have lost their lives to flood in Bosso and Zungeru of Niger State following heavy rain over the weekend.
LEADERSHIP learnt yesterday that two brothers, Abubakar and Abdullahi Gwaibaita of Gungel village of Bosso local government area died on their way back from farm. Two Fulani herdsmen were swept away by flood along their grazing route in Zungeru of Wushishi local government area of the state.
Houses, rice and sugarcane farmlands in Wuya Kede, Wuya Kanti, Batati and Muregi in Mokwa local government area of the state were also flooded.
NEMA is collaborating with affected states
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is collaborating with the affected states on prevention and mitigation of floods.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP yesterday, NEMA's head of public relations, Yushau A. Shuaib said the agency was also in touch with the Cameroon government, based on the bilateral relationship with Nigeria to come up with measures to prevent a recurrence.
He said the recurrence of floods, was due to global warming which has led to an increase in disasters worldwide, adding that there has been a rise in the intensity and frequency of floods around the world. He stressed that NEMa was embarking on sensitization of communities on ways of safeguarding lives and property.
Shuaib said, it is difficult for NEMA to give the exact number of missing persons now because people are reported missing but later resurface.
He said NEMA would keep enlightening people living in flood prone areas on the pre-rainy season clearing, cleaning and dredging of drainages to avert future disasters.
Prediction by the Ministry of Environment
The Federal Ministry of Environment had predicted heavy downpour and flooding in 23 states in the country between August 20 and August 27.
The states are: Kebbi, Nasarawa, Imo, Kwara, Edo, Benue, Ebonyi, Katsina, Jigawa, Plateau, Gombe, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Taraba, Niger, Zamfara, Yobe, Adamawa, Sokoto, Lagos and Oyo states.