The destruction caused by the recent floods in various parts of the country will take years to re-build
The material cost and human hardship caused by widespread flood in the country may take several years to be corrected, a report has shown.
The report, published on Monday by the Environmental Right Action, Friend of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, documented far-reaching destruction of the economies and everyday lives of Kogi, Edo, Cross Rivers and Benue States.
The report noted that the flooding was caused by unprecedented rainfall that led to the overflow of dams and the subsequent flooding of communities along the banks of the Niger and Benue rivers.
“The floods has led to destruction of farmlands across the affected states, complete inundation of hundreds of communities, loss of property in unquantifiable sums and about 104 deaths,” the report stated.
In Kogi state, the report observed that more than 500 thousand people were displaced. Nine out of the 21 local government areas were hit, with the worst affected being Ibaji that is completely submerged. The community occupies an area of 1,377 square kilometres and has a population of over 150 thousand. Other affected areas in the state are Lokoja, Bassa, Idah, Omala, Ajaokuta, Igalamela/Odolu, Ofu and Anpka.
As the disaster spread, relief camps provided to accommodate those affected by the flood are being stretched to breaking points. More than 500 families presently occupy a relief camp at St Luke’s Primary School, Adankolo, Lokoja, originally meant to accommodate 50 families.
In Benue State, the situation is no better.
Over two thousand houses are submerged in floodwater and 1579 families have been forced to evacuate their homes and now live in refugee camps in the state capital, Makurdi.
The report estimates the distance of houses affected by the flood to be about 250 metres from the river.
Areas mostly affected are in Wadata, Gyado and Mu in Makurdi local government.
In Edo State, more than 30 thousand people were evacuated as hundreds of houses were either washed away or inundated by the flood.
Communities affected by the flood include: Udaba, Ofukpo, Agbabu, Osomengbe, Anegbete, Udochi, Ukpeko-Olre, and Ifeku Island in Etsako Central local government. Others are communities in Etsako East and Esan East local governments
Schools and spiritual worship centres remain closed as women and children overwhelm refugee camps.
More than two thousand houses were washed away in 20 communities and 1500 people rendered homeless in Ikom, Odukpani, Obubra and Biase local government areas of Cross River state.
While highlighting the danger posed to the health of the affected people as portable water is contaminated by sewage from pit latrine, the report also noted a more ominous kind of danger. Snakes and other large aquatic reptiles have been washed into homes, the report stated.
As they lament the loss of their homes, these largely agrarian communities have also watched helplessly as the flood washed their farms away.
At Bassa in Kogi, acres of yam farms were lost to the flood. In Cross River, the report observed, “farmlands for cassava, yams, maize, melon, cocoa, as well as plantain and banana were submerged and destroyed.”
Most of the people affected have resorted to the meagre hand-outs and daily rations from relief camps.
Commuters on the Lokoja-Abuja road had their journey truncated for days as the deluge rendered the road impassable with traffic stretching up to 10 kilometres.
A call for assistance
ERA/FoEN observed that the facilities at the relief camps are inadequate to meet the needs of the displaced people. It therefore calls on government and other charities to do more in the donation of basic provisions and food.
It also called on the opening of more relief camps to accommodate the increasing number of displaced people.