Flood: North east residents count losses, authorities to check reoccurrence

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By Reporters
Bauchi, Sept. 24, 2020 Some residents of North east say they are counting their losses as a result of flooding experienced in some states as authorities assure that measures are being put in place to check reoccurrence.

A survey by journalists indicates that whereas the flooding was as a result of natural factors in some cases, human factors also contributed significantly.

Alhaji Nuru Jumba, the District Head of Bauchi said that disregard for the monthly environmental sanitation by most residents was a major factor responsible for flooding in the state.

Jumbo said even the few who participated in the exercise ended up depositing waste in drains and waterways.

“Most people do not participate and the few that comply end up depositing waste in drains and waterways as against designated waste disposal sites,” he said.

He also observed that delay by staff of Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA) in evacuating refuse, also contributed to flooding, especially in the state capital.

Alhaji Shehu Ningi, the Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), told NAN that 11 out of the 20 local government areas of the state were affected by flooding this year.

He said that 16 lives were lost with 3,042 houses and many farmlands destroyed across the state.

“Eleven out of the 20 local government areas of the state had been affected by flooding so far, with 16 lives lost and 3,042 houses and many farmlands destroyed.

“The affected local government areas include are Bauchi, Alkaleri, Gamawa, Katagum, Shira, Dambam, Jammare, Warji, Zaki, Itas and Kirfi,” said Ningi.

He said that the state government had directed the agency to provide relief materials to some affected communities, adding that government was working to avert the occurrence of similar disaster in other parts of the state.

Ningi said that the agency had embarked on massive sensitisation of religious bodies and communities through jingles and other means of communication.

He, however, urged the people to avoid indiscriminate dumping of refuse and erecting structures on the water ways, stressing the need for the government to expand drains and culverts in the state.

On his part, state governor, Bala Mohammed, while addressing journalists, appreciated the role of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the delivery of relief materials to displaced people in the state.

Mohammed, who spoke through his deputy, Baba Tela, noted that some areas that had not seen flood for the past five years, were now impassable because of the presence of lots of water, adding that NEMA provided over 220 trailers of food items.

The governor put the value of property destroyed by flood in the state this year at about N950 million, excluding infrastructure that the state government would have to put in place to ensure return to normalcy.

In Yobe, flood triggered by incessant rain killed nine people in three Local Government Arras of Fune, Gujiba and Damaturu of Yobe.

Dr Mohammed Goje, the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said the people died when their mud houses fell on them during heavy downpour accompanied by windstorm.

Goje said no fewer than 4,000 households had so far been displaced by flood, adding that the agency had distributed food items, clothes and building materials to 59 per cent of the victims.

He said the entire 17 local government areas of the state were affected by flood, saying the worst hit towns were Nguru, Gujarati, Damaturu, Damagim, Ngelzarma, and Gashua, among others.

The official listed the remote and immediate causes of seasonal flood in the state as rainstorm, building along water channels and discharge of water from rivers Hadejia and Kumadugu.

He expressed concern that some victims of previous flooding who were supported by the state government to move away from high risk areas had refused to comply.

“Ten to 15 years ago, the state government had compensated people who built houses on water ways In Ngelzarma to enable them relocate and reside elsewhere.

“Surprisingly, these people have refused to vacate the area even as they had collected money to do so. We will soon press charges against them,” Goje said.

On efforts to mitigate the menace, the official said the agency, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, was considering diverting River Nguru to a pond in the outskirt of the town to avert flooding.

He said similar strategy implemented in Kuri and Kukareta in 2019 had paid off as no cases of flood were reported in the areas in 2020.

Goje therefore advised communities residing along riverine areas to relocate to higher ground to avoid being hit by flood disaster.

In Borno, residents of flood-ravaged communities in Maiduguri metropolis appealed to Borno government to construct drains as lasting solution to recurring flood in the areas.

Some of the residents, who made the appeal in separate interviews with NAN, said the recurring flood was giving them nightmares during rainy season.

Goni Abacha, a resident of London Ciki community, said that anytime it rained, his home became flooded, forcing him and his family to seek refuge elsewhere.

“Even after blocking our doors with piles of sandbags, we spend whole night scooping water from both our sitting and bedrooms,” he said.

Abdullahi Aliyu, a resident of Polo Jidari, lamented loss of his valuables worth millions of Naira to the flooding.

“I had grains stocked in my store but the rain came and ravaged the store and destroyed everything,” he lamented.

Suleiman Bukar, a resident of Shagari Low-Cost, attributed the upsurge in flooding to non-compliance with town-planning regulations by residents.

He added that the poor drain network in the area was also contributing to the problem of flooding.

Mr Adam Bababe, the Executive Secretary, Borno State Geographic Information Service (BOGIS), attributed most flooding in the metropolis to poor planning of structures, noting that some illegal structures were erected on river banks and waterways.

Bababe said that the state government had concluded arrangement to demolish 1,300 illegal structures sited on roads, reservations and waterways in Maiduguri and its environs.

Meanwhile, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Gombe State said flood had destroyed over 2, 000 houses in the state this year.

Mr Mohammed Garba, Rescue and Rehabilitation Officer of the Agency who gave the figure, said the situation of flooding in the state was worrisome in view of the level of destruction of destruction of property and displacement of people.

He said that the problem had caused heavy loss of agricultural produce to farmers in the state as several farmlands were often washed off and crops destroyed whenever the menace occurs.

The SEMA official said the topography of the state was a factor in causing flooding just as some human factors also contributed.

According to him, often flooding in Plateau and Bauchi states can also trigger flooding in Gombe.

“This is because of the River Gongola that flows from Plateau passing through Bauchi State and Dukku, Nafada, Yamaltu-Deba LGAs of Gombe State and finally into Benue State,” he explained.

He said that another cause of flooding was as the activities of those who lived and farm close near river banks, stressing that crops cultivated at river banks impede flow of water bodies.

“Last year, from the downpour in parts of Bauchi, Plateau and Gombe States, the large volume of water that was supposed to seamlessly pass through the rivers was impeded by crops cultivated so close to river banks,” he said.

Malam Abdulkadir Kwami, a resident of Malam Sidi community said the activities of construction companies in the state were adding to the issue of flooding.

In Adamawa Government, has warned riverine communities in nine local government areas of the state to relocate to safer places to avert the destruction of their lives and property.

Dr Mohammed Sulaiman, the Executive Secretary, Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (ADSEMA) said that the warning message was necessary following a prediction from Nigeria Metrological Agency ( NiMET) about possibility of the occurrence of flooding in the state.

“NiMET flood prediction indicates that Adamawa is among states prone to flooding this year and the areas to be affected are Yola North, Yola South and Lamurde Local Government areas with Numan, Guyuk and Demsa, Gerri, Fufore,and Shelleng at high risk,” Suleiman said.

Sulaiman said that already, there were cases of flash floods in Yola South,Yola North and other areas of the state.

He attributed the recurring of flood to climate change, mostly caused by adverse human activities on the environment, adding that government had not relented in its public enlightenment campaigns targeting flood-prone communities.

He said government had identified high risk areas and was working toward possible evacuation of residents of such areas.

Also in Jigawa, government had expressed fears of food shortages in the state this farming season following unprecedented flood, which washed away about 65 per cent of FADAMA farmlands.

The Special Assistant to Gov. Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa on Community Development and Social Inclusion, Hamza Muhammad, raised the alarm in an interview with NAN in Dutse.

The official blamed the unprecedented flood being experienced this year to the overflow of Minjibir, Tiga and Challawa dams in Kano State as well a River Ringim in Jigawa.

He said that grains like millet, maize and sorghum were lost to the flood, noting that the communities mostly affected were along river Hadejia.

According to him, the state government is already intervening by deploying water pumping machines to the affected communities to evacuate water from flooded areas.

“Where we cannot use machines to evacuate the water, we organised self-help groups in such communities and empowered them with tools to build embankments to prevent water from destroying houses,” he said.

Muhammad said some of the affected Local Government areas are Buji, Hadejia, Ringim, Taura, Jahun, Miga, Malammadori, Auyo, Kafinhausa, Guri, Gwaram, Kiyawa, Kaugama, Birninkudu, Kirikasamma, Garki and Babura.

Also commenting on the development, Alhaji Yusif Sani, the Executive Secretary, Jigawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), told NAN that 33 people were confirmed dead apart from the houses and farmlands that were destroyed.

The secretary said that the agency distributed more than 30 canoes and 300 bundles of empty sacks to communities affected to aid their movement and enable them build embankments.

Some of the farmers, who were affected by the flood called for the quick intervention of the Federal, State and Local Governments to cushion the effect of the disaster.

They also called on the authorities to assist them with early maturing seedlings, fertiliser and other farm inputs to enable replanting after the water recedes.

NAN recalls that when officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) visited the state on Sept. 14, on advocacy visit, Auyu, Birniwa and Birninkufu were identified as the most probable flood risk areas in the state.

Others are Kudu and Malammadori, Miga, Kafin Hausa, Kaugama, Taura, Guri, Gwaram, Dutse, Ringim, Babura, Jahun and Bunji.

During the visit, the governor had said as at Sept.14, government had registered about 51,000 houses destroyed by floods, saying the figure must have risen.

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