The death toll from torrential rains and floods in southeastern Spain rose to seven on Tuesday after the discovery of the body of a missing 66-year-old Dutch national, local officials said.
The alarm was raised on Sunday after a man was sucked into flood water in a canal at Dolores, a town 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Alicante.
The body, matching a description by the Dutchman’s family, was recovered in San Fulgencio village several kilometres (miles) away, said a central governent spokesman in the region.
Torrential rains battered the area between Wednesday and Sunday, causing widespread flooding and leaving many areas cut off. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes with help from the army.
Bahamians who lost everything in the devastating passage of Hurricane Dorian were scrambling Saturday to escape the worst-hit islands by sea or by air, after the powerful storm left at least 43 people dead with officials fearing a “significantly” higher toll.
A loosely coordinated armada of passenger planes, helicopters and both private and government boats and ships — including redirected cruise liners — was converging on the horribly battered Abaco Islands to help with evacuations, both to Nassau and to the US mainland.
But Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that “Nassau cannot possibly accommodate” all the Abaco victims. He said plans were being hammered out for constructing tents and other temporary accommodations, the Nassau Guardian reported Saturday.
For now, he said, supplies of food and water were adequate, though several witnesses from Abaco contested that.
A cruise ship carrying 1,400 evacuees arrived Saturday in Riviera Beach, Florida, CNN reported.
More than 260 Abacos residents arrived Friday in Nassau on a government-chartered ferry. Another, carrying 200, was set to leave on Saturday.
Residents said conditions on the islands were brutal. They said the smell of unrecovered bodies, along with mounting piles of garbage, was oppressive and unsanitary.
Hundreds or even thousands of people were still missing, officials said, as search-and-rescue teams continued their grim search. Morticians with body bags were beginning to arrive.
Minnis said the death toll — 35 so far in the Abacos and eight in Grand Bahama — was likely to climb “significantly.”
He called the loss of life “catastrophic and devastating.”
The final death toll “will be staggering,” Health Minister Duane Sands said earlier.
A UN World Food Program team estimated that 90 percent of buildings in Marsh Harbour were damaged.
UN relief officials said more than 70,000 people on Grand Bahama and Abaco were in need of assistance. The WFP was sending food and supplies.
The US Coast Guard, Britain’s Royal Navy and private organizations have been helping evacuate island residents to Nassau, hampered by damaged piers and airport runways.
The Coast Guard said Saturday, however, that all Bahamian ports had now reopened. It said it had deployed nine cutters to the islands and that six of its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters had so far rescued 290 people.
‘It’s not right’
Chamika Durosier was waiting early Saturday at the Abaco airport. The island, she said, was unsafe.
“The home that we were in fell on us,” she said. “We had to crawl — got out crawling. By the grace of God we are alive.”
She described the increasingly desperate plight of those left behind.
“People have no food. People have no water, and it’s not right. They should have been gone.
“Dead bodies are still around and it’s not sanitary.”
At Marsh Harbour’s commercial port, Miralda Smith, a Haitian national, had arrived overnight on foot and was waiting in sweltering heat with dozens of other evacuees for passage to Nassau.
“We have no water, no electricity — we’re dying,” she said. “It’s really catastrophic.”
Many evacuees were Haitian workers who had seen their makeshift homes in a shantytown known as The Mudd completely flattened.
Those who have made it to safety awaited news of loved ones.
Diane Forbes was desperately searching for her two sons among some 200 evacuees at a shelter in Nassau.
On Tuesday, when last she heard from them, her sons told her that “they were hungry, and the scent of the bodies, the dead, was really getting to them.”
Dorian, a monstrous Category 5 hurricane when it raked through the Bahamas, was buffeting southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, on Saturday with tropical storm-force winds, the National Hurricane Center said at 11:00 am (1500 GMT).
The Canadian Hurricane Centre predicted a landfall near Halifax and issued hurricane warnings for parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Earlier, Dorian brought flooding and power outages but no major damage to the coastal Carolinas and Virginia.
In the Bahamas, the scene was very different, as the newly homeless were growing frustrated at the slow speed of relief and evacuation efforts.
“There’s no gas station, no food stores, my job is gone,” said Melanie Lowe of Marsh Harbour. She survived the storm packed in a two-bedroom apartment with 16 other people.
Hazmat suits and body bags
Arrangements were being made Saturday to care for the dead and account for the missing.
Mortuary workers in white hazmat suits, blue gloves and masks could be seen in Marsh Harbour carrying corpses in green body bags and loading them onto flatbed trucks.
President Donald Trump offered US support, adding in a video statement that “any cruise ship companies willing to act as stationary housing, etc., I am sure would be appreciated!”
At the Abaco airport on Saturday, Tanya McDermott was waiting with her husband and young son for a plane to Nassau.
With the injured given priority on outbound flights, they waited.
“We are going to wait around all day if we have to,” Tanya McDermott said.
Three people have been killed following heavy rain in Lafia Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
The victims – two women and a teenage boy – were said to be returning from a night vigil on Thursday morning before they got drowned in Amba River located along Kilema Road Lafia.
The three persons died as a result of an overflow of the river following the downpour which lasted hours.
Shortly after the incident, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa visited the area and promised to tackle the environmental challenges in the state.
He listed some of the steps to be taken by the government to include expansion of water channels, road construction, and river dredging, among others.
Governor Sule said, “The one thing that has to be done is increase the length of the area that will allow the water to pass, so we would extend the bridge so that we can have more water passing.
“Number two is to ensure that we dredge this particular area of the river to allow for more space, but the biggest problem we have which we will have to talk to our people is that most of the waste from Lafia taking over the places and causing this blockage.
The governor, however, warned residents to stop dumping waste on water channels while the government tries to minimise the impact flooding in the state.
“It is the blockage that is the cause of this problem. We have to find a way to avoid that.
“And for this one, we would find a solution, and then we would do the bigger work; that is why we introduced this monthly sanitation so that we can reduce such problems,” he stated.
The Federal Government has donated relief materials to victims of Daura community in Katsina State.
The flood victims will also be receiving additional assistance from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says, “Contrary to the allegations that President Muhammadu Buhari has turned his back on the people of Daura, we can confirm that pre-assessment relief materials were dispatched to the victims within 48 hours of the floods.
“Ten trailer loads of building materials including zinc, planks and cement, as well as tons of grains, cereals and other edibles have so far been delivered.
“The flood victims also received blankets and mattresses”.
Mr Shehu said that the materials were delivered to and signed for by stakeholders while the Emir of Daura, Umar Faruk Umar welcomed the prompt emergency response from NEMA officials.
According to him, NEMA has promised that in line with establishment practices all over the country, as soon as the assessment of the damage to the flood-ravaged communities is reported upon, more food items and building materials would be dispatched.
Days after a devastating flood swallowed up his village, Alsediq Abdelqader bulled his truck through the waters in a desperate attempt to locate his small house north of the Sudanese capital.
Flash floods from the Nile inundated his home last week in Wad Ramli village on the eastern river bank, expelling him and his family who managed to clamber aboard a ferry to the nearest dry land.
His drive through the flash floods was not easy as he had to avoid floating mattresses, house appliances and broken tree branches.
“My entire home is destroyed,” said the 57-year-old. “I have lived all my life in this village and I have never seen a flood like this before.”
“I’m struggling to recognise my house and trying to identify it, as some others have done, by the trees around it.”
His home is among thousands destroyed or damaged by the floods that struck at least 15 states, affecting nearly 200,000 people across Sudan.
The worst hit area was White Nile state in the south.
About 62 people were killed and nearly 100 injured overall, said the official SUNA news agency quoting a health ministry official as saying the crisis “did not reach the level of being declared a disaster.”
Volunteers and aid workers immediately rushed to Wad Ramli when the savage floods hit.
Authorities dispatched lorries and boats to wade through the thick water to rescue families and salvage their furniture and valuables.
But Abdelqader was among the less fortunate, unable to find their belongings.
“I have not managed to recover any of my furniture or belongings. My family is now staying with relatives in a nearby village,” said Abdelqader.
On the main road outside Wad Ramli, piles of sodden furniture are strewn about as homeless families shelter in dozens of make-shift tents.
The crisis comes as Sudan ushers in a political transition to civilian rule.
A prime minister and a civilian majority ruling body are to oversee a three-year transitional period following the ouster of veteran ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.
On Friday, the newly-appointed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok visited Wad Ramli and gave directives to intensify aid efforts.
The UN says the crisis is expected to drag on until October.
“We have not been able to survey the number of houses affected in Wad Ramli due to the rising water levels,” said Farouk Ahmed, supervisor of a Red Crescent aid team.
He estimates the village alone had about 6,000 residents.
And as Wad Ramli inhabitants reel from the floods, residents of nearby villages are bracing themselves for water levels to keep rising.
In Wawesi Gharb village, about half a kilometre (500 yards), 35-year-old farmer Sami Ali says he is running out of ways to roll back the water threat.
“We placed piles of sandbags around houses to reduce the damage in case we were flooded especially after the water surrounded our village from all sides,” he said.
Another resident, 24-year-old Hozeifa al-Ser, expressed fear of an outbreak of diseases especially as “mosquitoes and flies are hovering everywhere”.
‘We Will Go Back’
Mobile health clinics were set up outside the village to serve Wad Ramli but aid workers say medicine and food are in short supply.
In the tents, hundreds of villagers are pondering ways return to their lives.
Along with her two sisters and their families, Nafisa al-Saeed said they plan to go back home after the water recedes.
“We lived in this village all our lives. We will have to go back and rebuild our houses. Authorities just have to build flood barriers but we will not leave this place,” she said.
But 19-year-old Shehab al-Din Mohamed says he lost his documents and identification cards as well as university application papers.
“The academic year will start soon and I have no idea how I would submit my documents after I lost everything,” he said.
“It seems like we will be living here (in the tent) until October, and I have no idea what to do.”
Some of the affected areas are Modire in Yolde-Pate, Wuro-Hausa, Shagari, Bachure, Army Barracks Road, Damilu, Jambutu, and parts of Nassarawo in Yola.
The incident attracted the attention of the state government as the Deputy Governor, Mr Crowther Seth, accompanied by other government officials visited the affected communities for on the spot assessment.
He blamed the illegal erection of structures as the cause of perennial flooding in the state capital and appealed to the Federal Government for immediate intervention.
Seth admitted that the problem was overwhelming for the state government, considering the security challenges confronting the state.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr Aminu Suleiman, said measures have been taken by the agency to cushion the effects on the victims.
Out of the over two hundred displaced persons, 95 per cent are said to be women and children.
According to the SEMA, the local government areas submerged by flood are Yola North, Yola South, Girie, Shelleng and Ganye.
The Kaduna State Ministry of Environment and Emergency Management Agency (KASEMA) has warned residents living around flood prone areas to evacuate their homes.
According to the agency, as the rains intensify, there’s a likelihood of flooding to occur.
In 2018 alone, over 500 houses were submerged in flood and many residents were displaced in areas like Going Gora, Kamazo, Karatudu, kigo Road, Ungwar Rimi, Rafin Guza, Romi and Zaria among others, as a result of their refusal to heed to early warnings by emergency agencies.