Flood sacks 14 communities; displaces 25, 000 persons in Benue

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Thursday said over 25, 000 persons have been displaced by flood in 14 communities in Benue State following the overflow of river Benue.

Yushau Shuaib, NEMA’s Head Public Relations, in a press statement sent to Channels Television, said the agency had reached out to areas that are threatened by flood yet “some of the communities at risk have remained adamant even as over 25, 000 persons in 14 communities were displaced in Benue State following the overflow of river Benue.

“Also, thousands of residents in Kaduna metropolis have been displaced by flood from Kaduna River and some communities in Kano State submerged after the collapse of Warawa dam.

“Similarly, more areas along the plains of River Benue and River Niger have remained under the threat of flood from the unprecedented rise of water in the upstream dams,” the statement said.

The NEMA spokesman said the agency is working with the Benue State government and others in the establishment of three camps for the displaced persons while officials have mobilized to the other areas that are also affected by the disaster including Bauchi State.

Mr Shuaib said “the agency has contacted the relevant States Governors and stakeholders as well as launched a series of awareness campaigns and advocacy to sensitize the vulnerable communities on measures to be taken. However, some of the communities have remained adamant not to move to any place of safety and resigned their fate to the act of God.

Meanwhile, authorities at the Jebba hydroelectric dam has began discrete release of the excess water from the dam to safeguard the facility.

The Chief executive officer of the hydroelectric power plant, Lamu Audu attributed the high water level to excessive rainfall this year.

An assessment team comprising officers of NEMA and the stakeholders including the line ministries visited the dam and some of the threatened communities in Kwara and Niger States.

NEMA’s Director of Planning Research and Forecasting, Charles Agbo who led the team expressed satisfaction with the manner which the excess water is being managed.

During the visit to Jebba and Old Jebba which are the two immediate communities located at the downstream of the dam, Mr Agbo advised the residents in the communities to relocate to the higher grounds for safety.