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.SEMA calls for help; says state overwhelmed 

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

No fewer than 23 persons have lost their lives to the surging River Benue, in four local government areas of Benue State, while 74 others sustained serious injuries.

The flood also sacked 116,084 people from their homes, while 12,856 households were affected by the disaster.

Executive Secretary of Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Dr. Emmanuel Shior, made the disclosure, yesterday, during his update on the flood situation in the state.

Shior noted that 104 communities in 11 councils, including Agatu, Apa, Tarka, Gboko, Gwer West, Logo, Guma Vandeikya, Otukpo, Katsina-Ala and Makurdi were affected by the flood.

He said 4,411 houses had, so far, been submerged in the affected councils, while 14,040 hectares of farmland were washed away.

Shior explained that responders from the agency were still profiling more victims, lamenting that the state government was already overwhelmed by the situation.

“We are already grappling with the persons displaced by the armed Fulani herdsmen attacks and then this. It is obviously too much of a burden for the state government and we are already overwhelmed because the state government does not have the capacity to handle the situation.

“We are appealing to the Federal Government, international and local humanitarian organisations and good spirited  persons to come to our aid.

“Already, we are, today, flagging off the distribution of thousands of bags of rice, cartons of noodles and other food and non food items. We are expecting more of the relief materials and as we procure, we distribute, but we are starting with Agatu, which is more devastated with major parts of the council submerged while the people are taking refuge on the road shoulders. We are also distributing in Makurdi,” he said.

Also, Principal Officer, Search and Rescue of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, John Digha said that his agency would provide food and non food items to support victims of the flood.

He said the federal agency had already moved its mobile water treatment plant with the capacity of 2,000 litres of water per hour to the state to assist treat the already polluted water sources in the flooded communities.

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