BreakingNews 3/9/17 - How flood sacked over 100,000 people in Benue

[ Masterweb Reports: Hope Abah reports ] - [ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Days of torrential rains have destroyed property and displaced many in Benue State. It was early Wednesday morning, the family of George Okoh had been deep in their sleep when they were suddenly awoken by screams from their neighbourhood at the Media village in Achussa, a suburb of Makurdi metropolis in Benue State.

 

As the head of the family, Okoh, the state correspondent of This Day newspaper decided to brave the odds by being the one to first step out from his bed, at least, to peep through the window for a clue as to what might have gone wrong.

 

"As I pulled my legs out of the bed, I discovered that I was standing in water. It was precisely at 1:15am and the rain was dropping heavily accompanied by thunderstorm. I sleepily brushed over my eyes so I could see well and that was when it dawned on me that my house had been flooded," he said.

 

Okoh added that his car was submerged, while his household appliances were damaged, among other things.

 

According to him, his family of five are currently taking refuge at his paternal home in another area of the town, though the water as at yesterday [Saturday] had considerably receded.

 

Besides, Okoh, there are over 110,000 households affected by the flood according to the Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Boniface Ortese, across 24 communities in Makurdi and environs.

 

Of the figure, Makurdi alone had a total of 82, 136 affected population as compiled in a document made available to Daily Trust on Sunday by SEMA while ongoing assessment of other local government areas was yet to be obtained.

 

The breakdown of surroundings submerged by the flood between last Sunday and Wednesday in Makurdi metropolis include 200 affected houses in Achusa with 5,125 persons displaced while at Idye 217 houses with 5,200 persons displaced.

 

At Genabe layout, 200 houses were affected with 5,021 persons displaced, 218 houses around the Wurukum market were affected with 1,000 persons displaced, and at Wadata market 150 houses were affected and 4,300 persons were displaced.

 

Similarly, behind the Civil Service Commission, 200 houses were submerged in the flood and 5,777 persons displaced while at the Industrial Layout, 69 houses and 4,310 persons and Demekpe 111 houses with 7,820 persons displaced.

 

The flood also affected 137 houses in Katungu with 6,031 persons displaced while at Agboughul-Wadata 201 houses were affected and 5,728 persons displaced.

 

A displaced resident at Tse-Chijir along Achusa road in Makurdi, Iorya Dooshima, said her entire family had vacated the house because the flood had submerged it up to the window level and that they were now taking refuge with relatives in other safer areas of the town.

 

Dooshima said they had not moved to the camp opened by the state government because of its distance.

 

For elderly man, Gbarka Gwaza, whose house at Idye by Zone 4 Police headquarters collapsed completely, said he could only hope in God, the government and good spirited individuals to come to his rescue.

 

A woman, Celina Tyovander, tries to survive as she risked the snake-infested water, swam with her children to cross over the submerged bridge connecting her Tor-Udogbo village behind the University of Agriculture in Makurdi to her farm at the other side of Guma Local Government.

 

Tyovander told Daily Trust on Sunday that she had no choice but to do so for the sake of feeding her children from her farm produce.

 

The flood started last Sunday at about 12:00 midnight, continued until about 5:00am and wreaked havoc in Makurdi metropolis, leaving many families stranded.

 

It also washed away electricity poles, markets, farms and homes in nearly all residential vicinities of the state capital.

 

Our correspondent reports that, Wurukum market, High level, Wadata, North Bank, Gyado villa, Kanshio and Naka road suburbs were among the worst affected areas while rice farms and bridges connecting rural communities of Guma, a neighbouring local government were also washed away.

 

Ortese who has been warning residents in floodprone areas in the state for a few months now to heed the recent Nigerian Metrological Agency’s prediction and relocate to safer ground, said the water surged into many locations while it displaced people and destroyed property.

 

He advised the traders at the Wurukum market to relocate immediately to the International market along Chief Abu King Shuluwa Way which they have refused to occupy.

 

On his part, Governor Samuel Ortom urged the Federal Government to urgently release ecological fund to enable the state avert a repeat of the 2012 flood experience across the country, just as he described the flooding challenge as overwhelming and happening at the time his administration was facing problems of salary payment.

 

Ortom after his assessment of the flooding which also cut off Ishaya Bakut by-pass and the welfare quarters linking Achusa road, directed the immediate use of the gigantic building put up by the Presidential Committee on flood situated at Agan in Makurdi and the International Market for the rehabilitation of victims.

 

However at the time of filing this report, displaced victims were yet to move into the designated camps.

 

The state commissioner of Environment, Engineer Terlumun Terver, said it was unfortunate that the flood occurred in the magnitude it did because his ministry had taken a proactive measure to act on NIMET earlier warnings by distilling drainages.

 

He, however, appealed to the federal government to come to the assistance of the state by dredging the River Benue to curb the yearly disaster.

 

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engineer Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, and his team yesterday visited the affected areas in both Makurdi and Guma local government areas to assess the level of damage.

 

Maihaja on completion of the five-hour tour remarked that the incident was really devastating, adding that the federal government would do everything within its powers to ameliorate the suffering of the victims.

 

He said that his team was in the state on the directives of President Muhammdu Buhari to inspect the level of damage and assist with the relief items already arriving in batches.

 

At the moment, there are still palpable fears by residents that more flooding could occur if the rains persist.

 

*Photo Caption - As seen.

 

 

 
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