Nigeria: FG, Katsina Have Abandoned us, Flood Victims Claim

1 September 2019

Katsina — Hundreds of residents, who were recently displaced by flood in Daura, the country home of President Muhammadu Buharu, yesterday claimed that the Federal and Katsina State Governments had abandoned them.

However, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) disputed the claims of the victims, noting that the state government had started enumerating all the residents affected by the disaster that brought down more than 300 houses in Daura and its environs.

Some of the victims expressed grave concern in separate interviews with THISDAY, saying six days after flood displaced several households, the federal and state governments had not responded to their plight.

The flood, which resulted from heavy rainfall that started from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, ravaged Kusugu, Sabongari, Sarkin Yara and Mazoji areas of Daura.

Consequently, the disaster destroyed at least 300 houses; displaced between 5,000 and 7,000 persons in Daura and its environs and damaged property worth of billions of Naira.

During its visit to the flood-ravaged areas yesterday, THISDAY observed that some of the affected houses were completely brought down while storm water submerged several others.

One of the victims, Bala Dan-Buhari, who spoke with THISDAY on the disaster, lamented that the federal and state governments had not taken any remedial or preventive measures to forestall the calamity in the future and address its aftermath.

Dan-Buhari lamented that the situation "is that of the abandoned child. We are treated as if we did not belong to Nigeria or Katsina State. We are being abandoned as if we chose ourselves to be affected by flood.

"It is quite sad we are going through these pains when we have elected representatives at the federal and state governments to oversee and administer our affairs. The governments have abandoned us. It is urgent President Buhari comes to our rescue."

Another flood victim, Dalhatu Mamman explained that the disaster had compounded his challenges, noting that his customers' cloths and materials had been condemned.

He lamented that he just used his last savings "to re-stock his shop just before the downpour. Unfortunately, the flood condemned everything to my surprise. Now, how do I pay rent for another shop? How do I settle all my customers? How do I take care of my family?"

He, therefore, urged the state and federal governments "to provide financial assistance for the victims and rehabilitate the houses that were destroyed in the affected areas."

Also speaking on the aftermath of the flood, Tsamiya Ardo, who owns a laundry business in Daura, lamented that the disaster had cost his family and business a lot.

After the downpour, Ardo explained that the level of the flood became unbearable that there was nothing he could do than to relocate his family members to safe areas.

He said:"The morning after, the flood was even getting worse. We were only able to remove some cloths I was asked to dry clean. But the storm waters inundated my shop and swept off most cloths my clients sought my service to wash and iron for them.

"I plead on behalf of all residents of the affected areas that the governments at all levels, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other bodies come to our rescue. We need relief materials and fund to restart our lives", he said.

Residents of Gafai, Tudun-Matallewe, Sabuwar Kasuwa, Layin-Zana and Masanawa communities in Katsina, the state capital, have also expressed frustration with government. They said that commercial and social activities in the areas were always brought to a standstill whenever it rained.

The residents of the communities claimed that they had to go through the flood to access their residences or destination. They ascribed the flooding of the areas to five ponds within the city that over flow and return water to the communities whenever it rains.

However, the spokesman of SEMA, Mr. Umar Muhammad said they had started enumerating the victims of the disaster, especially those who were displaced and rendered homeless.

He explained that the enumeration was imperative because it would provide the state government with the data "to work with. We have not taken the final census of those affected.

"Presently, we have visited some of the areas affected in Daura, Mai'adua, Baure, Sandamu, Kurfi, Kusada and Ingawa. In Katsina metropolis, we visited Gafai, Tudun-Matallewe, SabuwarKasuwa, Layin-Zana and Masanawa," Muhammad said.

He, also, claimed that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) "has sent some relief materials including food items that will be distributed to the victims in Daura immediately after our on-the-spot assessment of the affected communities in the state."

He, therefore, debunked reports that the state government was not ready "to assist the victims. The Katsina State Government will not politicise the exercise at the detriment of the victims."

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