Daily Trust (Abuja)

7 November 2012

Nigeria: Nasarawa Lost Over 2,000 Hectares of Farmland, 28 Persons to Floods

Lafia — Over 2,000 hectares of farmland were lost to the recent flooding which devastated not less than 200 communities across Nasarawa State, just as 28 persons including women and their children died in the disaster which lasted months.

Dr. Abdullahi Idris, Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA), told Daily Trust, Wednesday evening that statistics available to his agency, so far, have showed that over 2,000 hectares of farmland across over 200 communities - all within the distance of about 15 kilometers from Benue River, were washed away.

Olam Nigeria Limited, a Singapore based investor, alone, according to Dr. Idris, lost about 500 hectares of its US$900 million rice farm in its first second month of cultivation.

The river which runs through parts of Nasarawa State overflowed its banks in a surge that ravaged the state in the past two months of intensified rains.

"28 persons including women and children died across the affected communities", Dr. Idris said, adding "the devastating has left in its trails, damages that will take us sometimes to recover from."

He said roads and bridges all together amounting to about 18 were washed off, and 16 communities' water supply system cut off, as well as 28 rural electrification lines damaged in the affected areas.

In all, he said 95,538 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were recorded to have been affected, and are currently camping in four camps of Guto in Toto, Tunga in Awe, Umaisha in Toto, and Rukubi in Doma.

He said the state government intervention programme to relief displaced persons has gulped over N50 million spent on relief materials and cash donations.

Two weeks ago, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, along with the NASEMA Executive Secretary embarked on an air tour that took them to the affected communities to ascertain the extent of damage, as well as bring them to meet with the displaced persons.

"The tour lasted two days, and it brought us face to face with the extent of damage. You know the governor paid isolated visits to the affected communities in the first instance, but this time, he had to visit all the communities. He spoke to displaced persons, and gave them hope", Dr. Idris said.

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