Nearly 60 houses have been destroyed in Omu Aran and Egosi Ile communities, Kwara state by a rainstorm which lasted for 45 minutes leading to the massive loss of properties and government structures.
The residents of Omu Aran, Irepodun local government and Egosi Ile in Oke Ero local government of Kwara state have lamented the destruction of their homes and loss of properties which was caused a rainstorm.
The rainstorm which lasted for 45 minutes affected the palace of the immediate past and the private residence of the reigning Olomu of Omu Aran. The oldest clinic, churches, and houses of two widows were also not spared.
The storm also uprooted electric cables, trees and damaged walls.
At Egosi Ile in Oke Ero local government, a 10 minute drive from Omu Aran, the roofs of nearly 20 houses were blown off on the same day.
Most of the houses had their roofs shattered and thrown several meters away from their houses.
The victims said that no lives were lost and have started the reconstruction and renovation of affected buildings; while the aged and the poor have called on the government to come to their aid.
The traditional ruler who was visibly shaken by the unfortunate incident said that great efforts would be needed to resettle most of the victims who are poor.
The state government has however assured that it will address the situation after assessing the extent of the damages.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has attributed climate change to the worst flood disaster witnessed in Nigeria this year.
The Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi disclosed this at the end of the 18th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.
Speaking at the event, Mr Sani-Sidi said the climatic condition and drastic change to whether pattern contributed to massive flooding witnessed in the most states in Nigeria where lives were lost and sources of livelihood worth billions of Naira were destroyed.
He said: “We are now living witnesses to the reality of climate change and global warming where areas considered as dryland in the Northern part of the country witnessed excessive and torrential rainfall while some communities in the South were also submerged.
“NEMA has received tremendous support from all stakeholders during the recent flooding in many parts of the country; this is the first time we would have good collaboration with stakeholders during emergency response period. However, the law establishing NEMA states that there shall be state and local government emergency management agencies; but unfortunately, not many states have functional and effective institutional framework to manage disasters. “
Mr Sani-Sidi said within the limits of its resources, the agency had responded well to the recent flood disaster, which affected about 25 percent of the country by mobilising its personnel to provide rescues and relief services to victims.
On what should be done to mitigate the impact of flooding in the country, Mr Sani-Sidi said, “We must be environmentally conscious, where we need to build buffer dams, we must build; and people in flood plains should move to higher grounds.
“State governments must be serious about emergency management and local government authorities must also be serious; we need to create awareness and build capacity so that we can reduce our people’s vulnerability.”
On NEMA’s participation at COP 18, the director-general said that, as disaster managers, the agency finds the conference relevant, especially with the country’s recent experience of natural disasters attributed to climate change.
The Minister of Agriculture; Mr Akinwumi Adesina says the Federal Government has initiated a post-flooding “food recovery production plan,” to make sure that Nigeria does not have a food crisis.
He was speaking before the House of Representatives committee on Agriculture and Rural Development during his ministry’s 2013 budget session.
He assured the lawmakers that Nigeria would not face a famine or have a food crisis.
The ministry of agriculture has a total budgetary proposal of 47.317 billion naira for the 2013 fiscal year, of which 40.243 billion naira, representing 85.13 per cent is allocated to capital projects.
The United Nations says Nigeria will need $38 million (about N5.7 billion) in emergency aid to help 2.1 million people uprooted from their homes by flooding.
The spokesperson for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke on Friday said the aid plan includes help with food, water, shelter and schools mainly in farming and fishing communities along the Niger River.
Statistics from the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) office indicates that Nigeria’s worst flooding in at least half a century killed over 360 people and affected over 7 million people.
The agency further said that the flood disaster have displaced 2.1 million people and injured about 18,282 people.
Flooding in the oil rich Niger Delta, has disrupted oil production to the tune of around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) – more than a fifth of nation’s oil output – according to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
A cocoa industry body, last month predicted that cocoa output would fall far short of a 300,000 tonne target because of excessive rain.
The Presidential Committee on Flood Relief co-chaired by business mogul, Aliko Dangote and a lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba on Thursday realised about N12 billion in the first round of its fund raising.
The 34-man committee had set N100 billion as its ultimate target.
Both Mr Dangote and the Federal Government donated the sum of N2.5 billion each, making both the highest donors at the event held at the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja.
The Ministers of Petroleum and Communication Technology pledged to mobilise the IOCs and telecommunications companies respectively, to respond to the donation.
Incentives for donors
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has announced tax incentives for all corporate organisations that donate into the flood relief fund to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians who were affected by the recent flooding in the country.
He made the announcement at a fund raising dinner organised by the presidential committee he set up to cater for the needs of the flood victims.
The Delta State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan on Monday explained the rationale behind inviting Nollywood actors, Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme, popularly known as Aki and Paw Paw, to visit flood victims in the state as motivational speakers.
Aki and Paw Paw were reportedly present during the inauguration of the 12-man committee on the management of Federal Government fund released to the state over the flood disaster and the Post-Flooding Rehabilitation of Victims, headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Francis Tabai, at Government House, Asaba, by Mr Uduaghan.
The governor said he invited the duo after he visited the Institute of Continuing Education, where some flood victims’ were camped on a certain day and discovered that the displaced person, who were watching a Nollywood movie, were so engrossed that they barely gave him attention when he walked in.
“As I walked in, half of the population were watching television; you know we provided a giant television for them,” he said.
“I tried to attract their attention. Some looked at me and greeted me, but they turned to continue watching the television. When I looked at the television, I saw it was Aki, Paw Paw and Ibu that they were watching.
“You see, because they were watching Aki, Paw Paw and Ibu, they forgot their pains. For them, these Nollywood actors were helping them to ease their pains. That was why I invited them to go to the different camps as motivational speakers because the victims require a lot of motivation, while they are preparing to go back home,” the governor added.
He said the victims needed psychological support, adding that he was optimistic that Aki and Paw Paw would provide it for them.
“That is why they are here as motivational speakers. I believe that the few minutes they will spend will ease the pains of our IDPs. Those who have ability to ease those in pains, please help, it is not about food alone for the victims – that will not ease their pains.”
Speaking on our weekend breakfast show; Sunrise, the director of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for West Africa, Dr Roberts Asiedu, stated that “with the quantity of food produced in the country, with proper planning and mobilization, we should not have a situation where we have a on long term impact of the flood.”
According to him, the flood will even improve the soil quality because the flood will deposit rich top soil on the flooded farm lands as the flood water is moving fine soil materials from other areas and it will deposit it on the flooded plains.
The agronomist also argued that a number of disease causing organisms that would have damaged crop plants that are surviving in the soil will also be suffocated and killed.
But he warned that their will some level of pressure after the flood as it recedes as farmers rush to late planting.
He enjoined both the government and private sector to ensure that food are transported across the country in the immediate aftermath of the flood disaster to avoid an expected rush.
“There is enough food production in the country and neighbouring country; all efforts must just be made to re-direct the exported farm produce for internal consumption at a good price for the farmers.”
According to the IITA expert, Nigeria produces 67 per cent of the yams produced in the world and the country is the largest producer of cassava in the world, so he emphasised that there is no need to worry.
On addressing the challenge of post-harvest losses, the country director of Harvest Africa, Mr Paul Ilona, also affirmed that the federal government purchases and store a great deal of grains produced across the country, but added that he is not able to confirm the condition in which they are stored.
According to Mr Ilona, the current flood disaster on rough estimate has affected just about 300,000 hectares of cultivated land while the nation’s cultivated land mass exceeds 40 million hectares, so the crop expert also agrees that with adequate planning, there will be no worries about food security after the flood.
An Environmentalist, Idowu Salawu on Thursday said the states that received monies from the Federal Government to ameliorate their flooding problems should spend part of that fund in conducting post impact assessment studies.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Salawu cautioned the State governors that the monies should not be spent on frivolous jamborees but must be targeted at helping those displaced by the floods.
“The money is not for jamboree,” he said.
“If I am one of the lawmaker or policy maker saddled with the responsibility of managing this fund, I will take 10 percent of that money to carry out post impact assessment study of the flood impacted areas,” he added.
The Commissioner for Information, Delta State, has appealed to Nigerians, not to send money but materials to assist thousands of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) that currently displaced by the ravaging flood in the oil-rich state.
The spokesman for the Delta state government, Barrister Chike Ogeah, on our breakfast show, Sunrise, stated that “Delta state does not need money but materials to keep the IDPs.”
“If there is money you want to give us, please convert into the needed materials and send it to us.”
The state government has opened centres in Lagos, Abuja and Warri where such donations can be collected.
Describing the precarious condition of the disaster, Barrister Ogeah stated that “three storey buildings are totally submerged in the flood waters.” “Farms, burial sites, sewages, and schools have all washed away, giving room for health concerns on the aftermath of the flood.”
“With the build-up of IDPs, I ask if we are at war because the sights are similar to the era of the Biafra war which seems to re-enacting itself, just that we are not hearing gunshots.” “It seems the state is at war with nature” the agitated official stated.
He further raised the alarm that as the flood has taken over homes, people now fish in their compound and children swim in the water thinking it is the river. “But this is dangerous because fishing in such water is harmful for human consumption because everything in that water is polluted” he warned.
“There are real prospects of an outbreak of disease among displaced residents who depend on the flood water as their only source of drinking water” he added.
According to the Director of Search and Rescue with the National Emergency Service, Mr Charles Otegbade, “what we expressing is the downward movement of the accumulated water from River Niger and River Benue to Delta state” as he spoke about the flood disaster that has also affected the Niger-Delta.
An environmental activist and official of Friends of the Earth, Mr Phillip Jakor, declared that all the communities affected by flood, should be declared Disaster Zones.
Jakor further notes that a pending outbreak of cholera after the flood is imminent just as snakes and scorpions and other dangerous animals now make their ways into people’s homes.
The devastation caused by the over-flow of River Niger is spreading further across its banks as the resultant flood has displaced hundreds of families in Kwara, destroying hectares of farmland in its flow.
No fewer than 680 people have been displaced and rendered homeless in Patigi and Edu local government areas of Kwara state following heavy downpour in the last few days, coupled with the over-flow of River Niger at its tributary in Jebba, within the state.
The flood which affected 16 communities washed away nearly a million hectares of rice farmlands.
The state government has now called on the Federal Government to extend the dredging of River Niger to Jebba in Kwara state for permanent solution to perennial flooding in the area.
The Special Adviser to the state governor on emergency in company of the state Head of Service were shocked at the magnitude of the damage caused by the flood as they embarked on an inspection of the affected community.
The government officials had to resort to using a canoe to access the villages during their assessment tour.
Some of the villages visited in Edu and Patigi local government areas include Kpata, Mawogi, Abefu and Gbaradogi, where residential buildings and offices have been submerged by flood.
Nearly 70 houses were affected including the country home of the Commissioner for Industries and Solid Minerals who could not recall when such a magnitude of flood has ever occurred before.
Most of the displaced communities have been temporarily relocated though; they still remain at the mercy of the impending flood while the state and local governments are making all efforts to alleviate their suffering.
The government officials appealed to the flood victims to move away from the river bank.
Two more people have been killed by flood in Lapia local government area of Niger state, making the total lives lost to the rampaging flood in the state to 49.
Speaking to Channels Television in Minna, the Director General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Mr Mohammed Shaba, explained that 17 years old Isa Mako and 11 years old, Safiya Nakoje of Egba village were returning from their daily farm work when the flood which had ravage the whole community carried them away.
Their corpses were later discovered outside the village square, 24 hours later by a search and rescue team of the local government council.
Mr Shaba further stated that over 6000 persons had been rendered homeless in 37 communities across the state by the flood which he claimed has overwhelmed both the local and the state government.