By Samuel Oyadongha, Marie-Therese Nanlong & Vincent Ujumadu
Residents of Garga district in Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State and Anaku, the headquarters of Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State have appealed to the federal and state governments for urgent intervention to ameliorate the suffering of the flood victims in the areas.
Over 300 private and public buildings, as well as farmlands, and grains stored in barns worth millions of naira were destroyed, Sunday, in Garga district, Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Narrating their ordeal, some of the victims, Rabiu Garga and Musa Gambo said the heavy rainstorm started at about 8.30 pm on Sunday and residents could not pick anything from their homes but escaped as their homes were collapsing.
They appealed to government and public-spirited persons to come to their aid as they are in urgent need of basic needs.
However, Chairman of Kanam Local Government Area, Dayyabu Garga, said the disaster, which befell his people is “one too much for them to bear” as “they are mostly peasant farmers.”
The chairman, represented by the council’s Supervisory Councillor for Social Services, Mr Bala Zalli, visited the affected communities where he gave assurance that “while the council looks at what support it can render immediately, relevant government authorities such as State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA; National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and other good-spirited individuals are being contacted to come to the aid of the people as well.”
Residents trapped as flood submerges LG hqts in Anambra
Also, residents of Anaku, the headquarters of Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State trapped by flood, yesterday, called on the state government and other good-spirited individuals to come to their rescue by sending boats to evacuate them.
Motorists, residents and visitors to the area could not drive out as the flood overflew the Onitsha/Otuocha/Ayamelum road that leads to the area.
Although one of the residents, Mr Paul Nwauba, said the flood was an annual occurrence that required a permanent solution, he requested for boats to be sent to the town immediately to save people’s lives.
He said: “We have been experiencing this flood every year, but it is worse now as it has submerged the Onitsha/Ayamelum road, thereby trapping those in the local government area, particularly Anaku.
The Ezu river has been submerged too, and the river is covered by flood, thereby making it impassable for travellers and residents.
“Vehicles, including commercial ones that were in Anaku motor park to evacuate farm produce, have been trapped for days and as we speak, there is no escape route out of the flood.”
Another resident, Mr John Anibogu, said farmers in the area have lost most of their farm produce to the rampaging flood and called on the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to send boats to ferry the trapped people out of the place.
Elsewhere at Odekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area, the people have been lamenting the devastating flood that had sacked most of the residents.
According to a resident, Peter Okala, many people sleep in rooms that are flooded, while some people construct platforms with planks on which they sleep.
“I swim to and from my house on daily basis with my family. This is not an ideal situation for the people. Unless a permanent solution is put in place, the residents will continue to suffer this every year,” he said.
Schools shut in Bayelsa
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State government has been forced to order the closure of schools across the state due to rising water levels.
The development was to avert any possible tragedy in the predominantly riverine state where many of the communities are now grappling with the surging flood.
Though the forced holiday, tagged, “Flood Break” is expected to last six weeks (beginning from Tuesday, October 4-November 11), this, however, depends on when the water recedes fully in the state to ensure uniformity in the school calendar.
According to a Bayelsa government statement, the closure became necessary to safeguard the lives of teachers and students as flood continues to submerge parts of the state.
The statement issued on behalf of the Permanent Secretary by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics in the Ministry of Education, Agala Damini, said: “18 schools across Kolokuma/Opokuma, Nembe, Ogbia and Yenagoa Local Government Areas are expected to wait until Monday, October 10, 2022, before embarking on the flood break.
“The delay is due to a proposed visit by officials from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Abuja and Ministry of Education personnel for a data validation exercise in the said schools.”
Damini also appealed to head teachers of the affected schools to comply and provide the required documents and data to enable the officials to complete their assignments in record time before the flood water begins to affect their locations.
Also, the notice sent to parents/guardians by schools reads: “Be advised that the state government has announced that there would be a flood break throughout Bayelsa State starting from Tuesday, October 4, 2022.
“Because of this, schools will comply with the state government’s directive and shut down during the period given. Normal school activities will resume pending when the state government announced the date of resumption. Please kindly take care of your children/wards during this period in view.”
Several communities across the state at the fringe of rivers, creeks and rivulets have been taken over by surging floods forcing many residents to relocate to upland areas.