Policeman, others killed
Property worth millions of Naira destroyed
Environmental management agency officials move to salvage situation
By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
ANGUISH, despair and confusion now reign supreme in two communities of Borno and Yobe states ravaged by severe flooding following heavy rainfall that claimed the lives of four of their natives and rendered many homeless.
Besides, many private and public property worth millions of Naira were swept away by the flood, while many graves were overturned by the rampaging flood, which swept through the areas on Monday and Tuesday this week, leaving a trail of woes on its path.
Among the victim is a policeman whose name has not been made public apparently because his family has not yet been contacted by the authorities. Flooding in the two areas, according to sources, is perennial and could have been prevented if necessary measures had been put in place by those saddled with the responsibility of the physical planning and protection of the affected communities in the two states.
The most affected areas in Borno State include Damboa Local Government Headquarters in Southern Borno and Gomari Airport, Kaleri, Bulumkutu, Ajilari, Dala, Gomari Airport Primary and junior secondary schools, Jiddari Polo and other communities within Jere and Maiduguri metropolis. Communities in Damboa that were most affected are Hausari old Market and Kachalla Burari Kura.
The Director Planning in the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, Mallam Ali Abdullahi, told Arewa Voice that government was doing its best to address the devastating situation and provide temporary solutions to areas worst affected by the flood. Abdullahi said: “Yes government is doing its best to address the situation; we have been providing permanent solutions to the affected communities, and also temporary solutions to areas that were submerged by evacuation of drainage to waterfalls across the state. Government is also providing temporary shelter, clothing and food items to the affected victims”.
However, knowledgeable sources in the state confirmed that the perennial flooding was occasioned by negligence on the part of government and residents. One of the sources, a water resource engineer, blamed the system for failing to provide proper drainage networks and appropriate law prohibiting the erection of structures on water ways and dumping of refuse of drains.
Similarly, communities in Southern Yobe State were also ravaged by the downpour. Among them are Gulani and Gujba council areas, whose natives continue to struggle against the dangerous tide. Officials of the Emergency Management Agency in Borno and Yobe states have moved in to salvage the situation and move the victims to more secure locations while efforts are being made to tackle the flooding holistically.
Surviving residents told Arewa Voice correspondent that since 1970, they have never witnessed such kind of flooding as it demolished the main bridge that links Bara Town to other communities in Yobe State, in the process displacing hundreds of residents, submerging grave yards, carrying away livestock and destroying property worth millions of Naira.
Investigation revealed that almost 300 households, mostly belonging to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Hausari and Kachallah Burari Kura, were affected by the flood. A victim, Mallam Abdu Mustapha, who lost foodstuff and livestock during the flooding, called on government officials, non-governmental organisations and individuals to provide humanitarian aid to the victims, stressing that they are in need of emergency assistance.
The Executive Secretary of Yobe State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Dr Mohammed Goje, alongside stakeholders from Gulani, went round seven out of the11 communities to ascertain the extent of damage caused by the rampaging flood. Before embarking on the inspection, the affected natives had been evacuated and provided shelter in some of the public schools considered safer.
Goje said that already Governor Mai Mala Buni had directed SEMA, farmers and humanitarian actors in the state to collaborate on rescue mission and provide assistance to the victims, especially the injured ones. He said: “My agency received with shock the devastating incident of flooding in some parts of Yobe State… resulting in loss of lives and properties. Over 11 communities in Gulani and one in Gujba town were affected by flooding as a result of a downpour, which led to the displacement of hundreds of households across 11 communities in the two LGAs and livestock and food reserves worth millions of Naira, swept away by the flood.
“SEMA alongside stakeholders from Gulani went round seven out of the 11 communities to rapidly inspect the damages and commiserate with Victims. Unfortunately, four persons have been reported dead, including a police officer, while scores of others were injured. The affected four communities (Gulani, Bara, Gagure and Njibulwa) were rendered inaccessible as the main bridge linking the town has been damaged and washed away because of the flooding.”