Katsina — No fewer than 44 persons were feared dead and scores missing as flood wreaked havoc in 10 communities in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State on Sunday night.
Some of the communities badly affected by the flood were Kwata, Dantudu, Sabuwar, Tukare, Tsohuwar Tukare and Ungwar Mai Kwari.
According to the District Head of Jibia, Alhaji Rabe Rabi'u, who confirmed the development to THISDAY yesterday in a telephone interview, while on an assessment tour of the affected areas, said the incident was "highly devastating."
"As I speak to you, we discovered the corpses of 25 persons, including mothers and children and many are missing. Over 260 cows, sheep and goats were killed by the flood. The heavy rainfall started around 11p.m. on Sunday night and stopped by 1 a.m. this morning (Monday)," he said.
The district head, however, called on the federal and state governments to come to their aid, considering the devastating nature of the flood, stressing, "It is only government that can assist us because the situation is beyond our financial strengths."
Also confirming the incidence, the Information Officer in charge of the local government, Sa'ad Suleiman, said the situation was aggravated by those building structures on water channels and dumping of refuse in drains.
He said the state government had earlier embarked on dredging of rivers, canals and clearing of drains in the state, urging residents of the state to inculcate the habit of disposing their refuse properly and desist from dumping refuse indiscriminately.
The downpour, which, according to some survivors, started around 11p.m. and stopped by 1a.m., caused river channels in the affected villages to overflow their banks, resulting in the loss of lives and sweeping away of several vehicles, motorcycles and farmlands.
The natural disaster also sacked many residents from their homes and shops as their apartments were flooded, thereby rendering thousands homeless.
THISDAY reliably gathered yesterday that three out of the 44 persons killed, were a food vendor and her two children, whose container-shop was swept away by the flood around Sabuwar Mosque area of Jibia.
An eyewitness told THISDAY that the food vendor, Halima Zubairu Jibia, and her two sons, were hiding inside the container when the downpour started and were later trapped in the shop.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr. Aminu Waziri, who could not confirm the number of deaths as at press time, said the agency's officers were moving to the affected communities in order to ascertain the number of casualties and houses affected for onward transmission to government for intervention.
Yesterday, some residents were still busy salvaging their personal effects from their homes, while others were seen packing out of the affected areas.
The Nigeria Meteorological Agency had in its forecast earlier in the year, listed Katsina as one of the states that would experience heavy downpour.