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North-Central state govts intensify efforts to mitigate flood

By News Express on 28/09/2015

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Some state governments in the North Central said they have stepped up campaigns to convince people in flood-prone areas to relocate, while fund had also been provided to mitigate flooding.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that states like Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Taraba States, had taken precautionary steps to avert flooding.

Some of the states had also prepared camps and temporary abodes for people that may be affected.

Most of the states in the region were hit by the devastating floods that killed 363 in 2012 across the federation.

The 2012 floods, described by many as “unprecedented,” also washed away many houses, bridges, roads, livestock and farms.

Following Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) prediction that heavy floods should be expected after the release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroun.

In Nasararwa State, for instance, the permanent secretary in the ministry of information, Mr. Yarus Dagusa, said that government had prepared to tackle the flood by embarking on massive sensitisation.

He said government has been appealing to people living in around River Benue's banks, or its tributaries, to move to safer areas.

He said that the response has generally been positive, but lamented that some people were “still stubborn” and preferred to stay put in the flood-prone areas with the flimsy argument that the settlements were their ancestral home that should never be abandoned.

He said that Governor Tanko Al-Makura recently visited Guatu village, a flood-prone area, and released N40 million for the building of a temporary accommodation camp in case of flood.

“This year's floods, if they come, will harm no one since the people have been adequately informed and will therefore never be taken unawares.”

The high preparation against the effect of possible flood was the same in Kogi State with the Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, and the State’s Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Stephen Aremu, declaring that Kogi was “ready for flood eventuality.”

“The state is not experiencing any flooding for now, because the water level is still normal, but we are prepared for the worst.”

Regarding any improvement in drainage system to contain flood, Awoniyi said that efforts have been made by government and its agencies to clear drains and build new ones across the state.

He stated that the main factor responsible for flooding in Kogi state was usually the release of waters from dams, and not rainfall.

Awoniyi, who is also the Chairman of Kogi State Flood Management Committee (KSFMC), stated that the citizens living along flood-prone areas have been urged to move to higher ground.

He added that some others had been relocated to the government-built flood housing estate.

On the efforts being made by the state government to mitigate the effects of flooding in line with the NiMet’s predictions, Awoniyi said that government had begun series of enlightenment for people to move to higher grounds.

“Camps to house Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), have been provided, drugs and foodstuffs have also been bought and stored in warehouses for possible IDPs.”

The deputy governor said that there was actually a rise in the water level “but not enough to cause panic,” noting that the level of rains recorded in the state in recent times was extremely low.

He said that Kogi had not lost any life to flood this year, but lamented that the state had not benefitted from the 2012 Flood Intervention Fund that would aided its preparation this year.

But while Kogi had yet to be affected by food this year, Taraba has not been as lucky.

NAN checks revealed that livestock, assorted property, houses and several hectares of farmlands have been destroyed by floods in at least five Local Government Areas of the state.

The local governments include Lau, Karim-Lamido, Gassol, Ardo-Kola and Ibi.

In Ibi, for instance, the chairman, Alhaji Iliya Mohammed, told NAN that more than 100 houses have been submerged in Ibi, Sarkin-Kudu and Dampar Districts of the area.

He said that the development followed the over-flooding of the rivers Benue and Taraba and their tributaries that emptied their waters into Ibi.

Similarly, the Chairman of Gassol Local Government, Alhaji Tukura Bashir, said that several hectares of rice and corn farms have been swept by the flood, which he said was as a result of the release of water from Kiri Dam in neighbouring Adamawa State.

He said that the heavy rains over time had also increased the volume of water and flooded many areas.

He said some displaced people from Sheka, Wuro-Jam and Sendirde villages that were worst hit by the flood were taking refuge with relations in Mutun-Biyu, Tella and Gassol Towns.

The story of Lau Local Government Area is not different from the others as its Chairman, Mr. Nelson Banker, told NAN that at least ten villages were affected in his area.

Banker said that the council had made a camp and erected tents in Lau so as to accommodate the displaced persons.

However, in Plateau State, the State's Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Alhaji Alhassan Barde, SEMA Executive Secretary confirmed that the people, amidst fears of possible flood in some flood-prone settlements, are already relocating to safer areas.

Barde told NAN in Jos that with the massive awareness by relevant government agencies on the impending flood disaster, the residents have seen the need to move.

“SEMA, in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has carried out series of awareness campaigns using different media.

“Some people are relocating, but some are not; we will continue to enlighten people on the dangers of either living on river banks or areas prone to flood until everybody moves to safer grounds.”

Barde told NAN that the state government got N500 million from Federal Government after the 2012 flood that hit the state and explained that the money was used to provide assorted relief materials to identified victims of the flood.

He said that part of the money was used to repair critical infrastructure such as bridges and culverts destroyed by the flood.

The secretary said that concerted efforts are in place to reduce the impact of the floods when they eventually occur as predicted, adding that government had been clearing water drains to ensure free flow of water.

The official advised the people to cooperate with government by obeying the directive not to live or build on, or dump refuse in waterways. (NAN)

•Photo shows Flood

Source News Express

Posted 28/09/2015 01:26:29 AM

 

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