FLOOD:Victims cries out to Buhari for help
In January this year, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) released the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) and as it was its annual ritual, warned some states to prepare for imminent flood while advising residents of the flood-prone areas to relocate to safe havens. But if the residents could abandon their abodes what could they do with their farmland which is their means of livelihood. The rains however came with its attendant floods leaving on its trail a monumental devastation across the nation. The flood swept away many residents while thousands of others have been rendered homeless with their houses swept away. Several thousands of hectares of farmlands were swallowed by the flood leaving the farmers in a state of hopelessness and penury. Communities have been sacked, schools, roads and bridges washed away. As victims are crying of hunger, the governors are looking up to the Federal Government for succour.
In Jigawa state, houses were submerged while some were completely washed away and others reduced to piles of mud. Thousands of hectres of farmlands of corn, millet, rice, beans and sorghum have also been washed away leaving the people hungry. It was tales of woes in many of the communities that were affected by the flood. Kwaikwayu, one of the villages affected by the flood this year in Ringim Local Government Area of Jigawa state had about 100 houses submerged in the flood with over 50 houses washed away farmlands flooded. When Vanguard visited the areas, children rushed towards the reporter thinking a representative of the State Emergency Management Agency had come to give them some palliatives. Some of them were crying saying, in Hausa language” Hajiya a taimaike mu, yunwa zai kashe my” meaning, “Hajiya please help us, hungry will kill us”. I had to bring out my working tools to convince them I wasn’t a government official but a reporter, yet they kept begging for food. Rashida, a young bride who lost all her belongings to the flood, said “madam, the flood has taken away everything I have, I am now left with an empty bed. This used to be my room, I don’t have cooking pots nor plates.
A 61-year old man, Baba Haladu, looking weak and sick said everybody was hungry in the village. He said, “look around, you will see young men sleeping on the ground hungry and hopeless. There is no where to go for help. My daughter please help us. Tell Baba Buhari that we are dying. We voted for APC”, he lamented.
Another resident, Mallam Ado Abdu kwaikwayu said, madam we are really suffering. The whole village was flooded, all our wells have been covered, there is no drinking water, cooking pots and plates were washed away. Our local government chairman and SEMA officials visited us when the incident occurred last month and promised to assist. As I speak with you, apart from the five bags of gari and N30,000 given to us by Alhaji Aminu Sule Sankara a member of the State House of Assembly, nobody else gave us any assistance. The situation is very bad, all our farms are flooded, here we are eating roasted guinea corn for food. We have no other thing to eat. We are praying each day for divine intervention.
We sleep in this primary school on bare floor, nothing to cover ourselves, the flood took away our mats and clothes, we are here naked. At night the women and children sleep inside the classrooms while we sleep outside the classes”. The story was the same in Kafin Babushe village in Ringim local government where Mallam Yakubu Usman lost his three children in the flood. Mr Yakubu said he was inside his house with his wife and children when the building collapsed and killed his three children, “It is a sad memory. I lost my three children to flood in one day.
Even my entire farm has been flooded. Government should send relief materials to us especially food, mats and clothes to cover ourselves. In his own account, Mallam Uba said the little food they got from people was not enough because of the number of people in the camp. “We have lost everything, we have no hope for today or tomorrow in these hard times “, he lamented. Similarly, Dojo town in Garki Local Government was flooded and farm produce washed away, though no death was recorded. The residents were also crying for food. A resident, Mallam Abubakar lamented that the town had large farmlands but have all been used away by the flood. He said over 50 houses have been washed away by the flood. Ahmed who is also victim, said the residents lost everything to the flood. “All my hopes have been washed away by the flood. I don’t have a house or what to eat tomorrow. I will use this medium to call on the state and federal governments to come to our aid. The losses are too much, state government alone cannot help us. In Duka, Doro, Dare and Kano villages in Jahun Local Government Areas, the houses and farmlands were also destroyed by the flood.
According to statistics from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA.) 17 out of the 27 local government areas of the state were affected by the flood, twenty deaths were recorded most of whom were children, and over 50,000 houses have been completely washed away with thousands of farmlands also destroyed. However, vanguard gathered that some the affected towns and villages had not received any relief materials. Even though officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) visited the affected areas, the communities were yet to be given any relief materials The national emergency management agency has also not showed its presence in the communities. Thousands of flood victims in Jigawa state were camped school premises looking hungry and risked contacting waterborne diseases. A senator representing Jigawa North West Senatorial District, Senator Danladi Abdullahi Sankara has however released N1m for the purchase of basic amenities for the flood victims at Kwaikwayu less than 24 hours after Saturday Vanguard visited the village. Senator Sankara said “honestly nobody reported the situation in Kwaikwayu to me, I know flood has affected many local governments and communities in the state and even my senatorial district but I don’t know that some people were roasting guinea corn as food. I have spoken to some people on phone through my contact and I am making arrangements to send them some personal assistance immediately before we get relief materials from NEMA. I have also given out N1m Naira to purchase 50 bags of rice, 50 mattresses, 100 plastic mats and some cash to the Kwaikwayu flood victims”. Senator Sankara then disclosed that he had made both verbal and written request to NEMA to send relief materials to flood victims to the affected victims in the state and assured that very soon NEMA would respond. Kano
Kano is also not left out of the flood calamities. Some of the victims lamented loss of lives, property and livestock to this year’s flood. Residents of Gaida, Unguwan Kwari and Gida Dubu communities of Kumbotso Local Government Area of Kano State claimed they suffered losses annually as a result of flood but this year’s destruction was much. Some of the residents who spoke to Vanguard complained that mega drainages need to be put in place in the area to arrest the situation because of large flow of water from the Sabon Titi (Madobi) underpass, Ja’in, Dorayi and Sharada Industrial area to the place, a situation that has led them to annual losses both lives and property as a result of flood. A resident of Gaida from the Unguwan Kwari axis of the community, Ahmad A. Ahmad said “from Sabon Titi to Bakin Gada that links Maishada Mosque down to Gida Dubu, at least three hundred houses have been affected by the flood. As a result of this, many people have abandoned their houses and a lot of married women have returned to their parents. We have so far witnessed the loss of at least fourteen lives here and not even our federal or state representatives have attempted to come to our rescue” The community head of Charanchi Unguwar Kwari, Malam Isa Tukur said the situation was devastating. Speaking through his spokesperson, Umar Musa Charanchi Unguwar Kwari, he said, “Sometimes we would just pick bodies on the streets, sometimes on doorsteps, sometimes inside the debris of collapsed buildings and so on. We have been cut off from other communities and the government should come to our aid”. Kebbi By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor In Kebbi state, the story is the same as over 450,000 kilometres of rice, millet and wheat, which the farmers had placed their hopes on to make a big financial breakthrough at the end of the farming season had been buried in the belly of the flood. In Duku alone in Bernin Kebbi, communities such as Wabakku Hausa, Wabakku Fulani, Bori, Takalawu, Ungwakayi, Dukuwo, Kalangu, Ungwa Alun Madi, Bokulo, Akkwara and Gawassu are all buried by deep flood The same trail of destruction was visited on Jega, Argungu, Augie, Bagudo, Birnin Kebbi, Bunza, Dandi, Fakai, Gwandu, Jega, Kalgo, Koko / Besse, Maiyama, Ngaski, Sakaba, Shanga, Suru, Wasagu / Danko, Yauri and Zuru local government areas. In all of these places were tales of sorrow, tears and pains as the floods had driven the natives away from their homes and means of livelihood, separating families, relatives and associates and creating a wide gap among those who had lived and worked their farms together all their lives. In Jega LGA, when the flood struck, it swept off Kimba, Alelu, Gehuru, Dangamaji, Nasarawa, Geremi, Bernin Madi Gendi, Galbi, Tunga Atagara, Tunga Geuri and Jadaaji, washing off more than 10 kilometres of crops and homes. Recounting his loss, Mohammed Nasiru, a fisherman and farmer in Duku village, said “my farmland of maize and beans and my animals, which was my means of livelihood have all been washed away and the entire community scattered by flood”. A retired army major and secretary of the Kebbi Rice Farmers Association, Muayuya Aliyu said “We have lost over 50,000 farms in Jega LGA alone. We have been dealt a devastating blow by this single calamity caused by the flood. Our members have lost everything because the flood came overnight and we could not salvage anything. Many have lost their homes especially near the river bank According to Haruna Mohammed, the Sardauna of Raha Community in Bunza LGA, “I am also rice, millet and guinea corn farmer but all our crops have been washed away by the flood and our avenues of existence have been destroyed by the flood disaster”. In his own account, the chairman of Kalgo LGA, Mohammed Farouk said, “we lost more than 200 homes to the flood while our farms are now buried in the belly of the flood. We have never seen this kind destruction in the history of this state. One of our Imams lost his palace to the flood and has now been moved to a primary school”. The Chairman of the Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency, Sani Dododo, explained that the high level of destruction by the flood was caused by the heavy rains which caused rivers Rima, Niger, Zamfara and dams from Bakalori to discharge large volume of water into the state, which is in a low-lying position.
“We have been having flooding in recent years but this year is the most devastating,” said Dododo, whose agency is busy trying to mitigate the loss with the distribution of aid to the victims. Bemoaning the disaster in his state, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu said, “the flooding in Kebbi State is an international disaster, which requires urgent national and corporate response to mitigate the loss suffered by the farmers who were at the forefront of rice and wheat production for Nigeria and export. The disaster remains a significant loss to food production effort by our farmers and we are concerned that this is the worst ever we have witnessed in the state since the year 2012. “There are farmers who have lost their entire farms and there are those who have been displaced by the flood to the extent that they do not know where to go and what to do next. There are those who need fresh water and food in order to survive and there are thousands in the state who need help to return to their communities and inputs to return to their farming business. What we need most is the humanity from all of us to be able to extend the most vital needs to those trapped by the floods”.
Kwara In Kwara State, the floods had sacked more than 15,000 indigenes from their homes and thousands of hectres of farmland submerged under water with a heavy financial loss of about N10b. The state governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq who ran to President Muhammadu Buhari for help said, “Over the weekend, we had huge rainstorm that destroyed about 5,000 houses in the state capital. There was huge flooding in Kwara North and the bank of River Niger. There are a lot of internally displaced people at the bank of River Niger and in the state capital. We have thousands of hectares of farmland under water. Close to about 10,000 to 15,000 people are already displaced so far. So, it’s straining the state’s economy. That is why we need virtual aid. The State needs virtual aid to abate the crisis.”