Niamey Residents Flee After The Worst Floods In 50 Years

A barefoot child walks past tents on September 11, 2019 in the makeshift camp of Saguia near the capital Niamey after the Niger river floods forced inhabitants out of the area.  BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP


“At last, we’re here!” Amina and Halima, who live in Niger’s capital Niamey, exulted after reaching high ground following the worst floods to hit the city in 50 years.

Two weeks ago, authorities in Niamey declared a red alert when the waters of the Niger river — the third biggest in Africa — rose to a level “not seen in more than 50 years”.

The floods have affected more than 6,300 people in the traditionally dusty city.

Nearly 60 have been killed and 130,000 displaced across the nation this rainy season, officials say.

Amina and Halima are among those who have been evacuated to tent shelters at Saguia in the highlands overlooking Niamey.

The women travelled in a van, but officials have been chartering all kinds of transport to move people in trouble, while others hire taxis, ride motorbikes and even walk.

Saguia is a patch of land owned by the army and usually off limits to the public.

In 2012, it was used to house about 400 soldiers from neighbouring Mali who had fled an offensive by Tuareg rebels.

For access to the site, people need “tickets” that are distributed in schools serving as transit centres for flood victims, according to the armed paramilitary police checking new arrivals.

The heights give a panoramic view of the homes and rice paddies largely submerged by the water.

 ‘Surprised in our sleep’ 

Inside the camp, the fire brigade and municipal employees have put up dozens of white tents supplied by the Red Cross and the United Nations.

“When people arrive here, they are installed in tents (…) and we have enough food for them all,” Niamey governor Issaka Assane Karanta told AFP.

A generator and a fresh-water well have both been repaired, lamp posts will soon be installed and a medical centre is open “for the treatment of emergency cases”, the governor said.

Some 122 households, comprising 854 people, have been allocated tents and the site can take in a total of 1,200 flood victims, he added.

“They gave us rice, millet, mosquito nets, blankets and drinking water,” said Aissa Salifou, putting on makeup in her tent, her head and shoulders covered in a broad veil.

“The water surprised us in our sleep,” added the woman from one of Niamey’s hardest-hit districts, Kirkissoye. “We had to demolish the walls in neighbouring houses to scramble out.”

“We live on the low ground where we were trapped by the water, but this place is spacious, well-aired and above all safe,” said Fatouma Boubacar, another Kirkissoye resident, watching her cooking pot on the fire.

 ‘I was lucky’ 

Though Boubacar arrived only two days earlier, she has resumed her customary job, selling vegetables.

“I was lucky,” said Ramatou Abdou, reclining in an armchair with a toothpick stuck between her teeth.

“I barely got out of the house before the roof fell in. I’m expecting my first baby in a month and I shall call it Saguia.”

In the shade of a huge tree, a dozen new arrivals awaited the completion of their shelters before moving in.

Barefoot children meanwhile made up football teams and chased a rag ball on a makeshift pitch in the baking heat.

On the far side of the camp, a policeman with a gun slung over his shoulder watched over a bunch of children carrying plates and queuing for a hot meal provided by an NGO.

“We’re trying to live here and waiting to see what Allah has in store for us,” Boubacar said.

The level of the Niger has fallen slightly after bursting its banks, but governor Karanta is urging people from affected areas to be watchful and “to keep well away from the bed of the river”.

Upstream in Mali, technicians have opened floodgates on a major dam and the extra water is “slowly but surely” flowing down to Niger, Karanta said.



Hurricane Florence: US Governor Warns Displaced Residents Against Returning Home

Volunteer Amber Hersel from the Civilian Crisis Response Team helps rescue 7-year-old Keiyana Cromartie and her family from their flooded home September 14, 2018 in James City, United States. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP


The governor of North Carolina on Saturday warned residents displaced by a killer storm against returning home because of the dangers posed by rising floodwaters.

“Know that water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don’t typically flood,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches.”

He added that five deaths have been officially confirmed as a result of Florence — which made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm — and that several others were under investigation.


Residents of US Beach Resort Seek Shelter From Storm

 Hurricane Florence makes landfall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on September 13, 2018. Hurricane Florence edged closer to the east coast of the Hurricane Florence edged closer to the east coast of the US Thursday, winds and torrential rains. Alex Edelman / AFP



With Hurricane, Florence downgraded on Thursday from a Category Four to a Category Two storm, and then once again, around fifty people left the evacuation shelter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

That was a bad idea, said Avair Vereen, a local nurse who had sought safety in the shelter with her seven children.

“They say if you stay (home), it’s at your own risk,” she said, noting that emergency services personnel said they could not risk their lives rescuing anyone who had disregarded official evacuation notices.

“It is scary. When somebody tells you something like that, it’s my cue to get out. There’s nothing like being in the street knowing that nobody is coming,” she said, rocking her eight-month-old baby in her arms.

The shelter had been set up in a school and was offering temporary refuge from the elements to around 400 people on Thursday, although it had a capacity for up to 1,200 in the popular seaside resort.

“We’re recommending people to stay here. It’s not safe to go back,” said Rebecca Torriani, a Red Cross spokeswoman.

Vereen was taking that recommendation at face value — she and her children live in a mobile home in an open field, with nothing to protect it from the hurricane.

“If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing. But can’t replace us, so we decided to come here,” said the 39-year-old.

“A lot of people left this morning because they said it was down to Category Two but a Two can still do a lot of damage,” she said, noting that even in the lower classification, Florence’s winds would be buffeting at 100 miles per hour (161 kilometers per hour).

“I wouldn’t risk it. It can still change. It can go back up,” she said.

– Staying safe –

A few yards down the hallway, huddled in blankets, Tony Winborne echoed her concern about those who decided to leave the shelter.

“I hope they made the right decision. We could be here and it actually turns out not to be that bad, but it is better safe than sorry,” said the 37-year-old tailor.

Meteorologists and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were warning residents not to let their guard down, since, even with lessened wind speeds, Florence could still dump massive amounts of rain and a storm surge of more than nine feet (three meters) on the exposed coastline.

“The storm surge forecast with this storm has not changed,” warned Brock Long, the head of FEMA.

He said the massive rains meant that even areas away from the coast would be affected.

“The infrastructure is going to break,” he said. “The power is going to go out. It could go out for a number of days, it could go out for weeks. It’s very hard to say at this point.”

Even so, many residents of Myrtle Beach proudly recalled how they had weathered a number of storms in the past and we’re confident they could ride out Florence too.

None more so than Adam Williams, a 38-year-old security guard watching his 17-year-old son surf the first big waves as the storm approached.

“If it was a Category Four and we were going to get a direct hit, yes, we wouldn’t be here. But we’re going to be okay,” he said.


Residents Trapped As Clashes Rage In Libya’s Tripoli


Clashes raged Monday on the outskirts of Libya’s capital Tripoli trapping residents indoors and hampering rescue efforts, emergency services said, after more than a week of deadly fighting.

Clashes since August 27 between rival militias in the southern suburbs has killed at least 47 people and wounded 129 others, most of them civilians, according to an updated toll put out by the health ministry Sunday night.

On Monday, armed groups had cut roads leading to their positions, “blocking access to aid and relief” and trapping families in the area, emergency services spokesman Osama Ali said.

Explosions could be heard from the Tripoli’s centre and witnesses reported heavy fighting, particularly along the perimeter of the Wadi al-Rabii suburb in the southeast of the capital.

On Sunday, some 400 detainees managed to escape after rioting at a prison in Ain Zara, also in the capital’s southern suburbs, as the fighting raged.

Most detainees at the prison have been convicted of common crimes or were supporters of former dictator Moamer Kadhafi, found guilty of killings during the uprising that toppled his regime in 2011.

A justice ministry official told AFP on Monday that the prisoners escaped from Wing A, reserved for those convicted of common crimes.

Supporters of Kadhafi’s regime are being held in another wing where “no trouble has been recorded”, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The main figures from Kadhafi’s regime are held in another prison in Tripoli and one in Misrata, 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of the capital.

The internationally recognised Government of National Unity (GNA) on Sunday declared a state of emergency in the capital and its surroundings.

The Libyan capital has been at the center of a battle for influence between armed groups since Kadhafi’s fall and killing.


Enugu Govt Assures Residents Of Steady Water Supply

The Enugu State Government has assured residents of the state of its commitment to restore the damaged electric poles and cables that supply power to the water scheme at Oji River.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Supply, Mrs Felicia Ikpeama, made this known during the inspection of the damaged electric poles and cables destroyed by dangote cement trailer at Oji river.

According to her, power is the major challenge delaying water supply in the state.
She further urged those affected to exercise patience as the state’s electricity distribution company had commenced the installation of poles and cables at the area.

The SSA explained that the state government had since September begun a N165m worth of repair on the water facilities, while stressing that there were more plans to capture more areas in the scheme

We Cannot Live With Rohingya Muslims – Residents Of Myanmar State

Residents of Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, said on Wednesday (September 20) that the violence in the region has caused divisions between the ethnic populations in the state.

The violence in western Myanmar began on August 25 when Rohingya insurgents attacked about 30 police posts and an army camp, killing about 12 people.

One local told Reuters that he couldn’t see the Rakhine and Rohingya people living together again.

Rights monitors and fleeing Rohingya say the army and Rakhine Buddhist vigilantes responded with a campaign of violence and arson aimed at driving out the mostly stateless Muslim population.

Some 422,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled into Bangladesh, fleeing a military offensive the United Nations has branded ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar rejects the charge, saying its forces are tackling insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who it has accused of setting the fires and attacking civilians.

Kaduna Govt Commences Registration Of Residents

Southern Kaduna Attacks: El-Rufai Orders Arrest Of Suspected Masterminds
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai

The Kaduna State Government has commenced the registration of all residents of the state under the Residency Card Registration Programme, aimed at identifying the actual number of citizens in the state and also to help in checking insecurity in the state.

According to the State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi, the programme which is being run in collaboration with the National Identity Management Commission (NICM), is needed for an accurate database of the number of residents in the state.

This, he said, would enable the government to plan adequately for social services like schools, hospitals, markets, roads and other facilities.

Abdullahi said it is important for every citizen to be enrolled for the Residency Registration Programme as it will be the basis for them to enjoy certain free social services such as free education, healthcare among others.

The state government appealed to residents of the state to enrol in the Residency Card Programme, which will take place simultaneously across the three senatorial districts in the state.

High Level Of Insecurity Scares Calabar Residents

Residents Cry Out Over Insecurity In CalabarResidents of Calabar have appealed to the Cross River State Government and security operatives in the state to tighten security network in the metropolis.

Some of the residents told Channels Television that in the past two weeks, they have been living in fear, following series of cult-related activities and other crimes which have led to the death of some persons.

The State Government, however, assured them that the situation was under control.

The government said it has equipped the Nigerian Army with more operational vehicles to assist the Police in tackling the menace.

The Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Inuwa, who also assured Calabar residents of safety, disclosed that the State Command has made arrest of some notorious gangs believed to be terrorising residents in some parts of the metropolis.

According to him, a team from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on March 20 at about 1130hrs, arrested a gang of seven youths between the ages of 22 and 28 allegedly involved in armed robbery and cultism.

He said one locally made pistol and some other items were recovered from the suspects, following their confessions to the crimes.

Mr Inuwa said more suspects were also arrested for armed robbery and car snatching at Marina Resort, Calabar.

He said recovered items include two Beretta pistols with three 9mm live ammunition, an axe, two locally made pistols, a Toyota Corolla Car, a Murano SUV and a Toyota Rav4 SUV.

The Police Commissioner said some arrests were also made with connection to piracy, conspiracy and adulterated cement.

He stressed that in view of the successes made by the Police, the Command has the capacity and capability to deal with any miscreants posing danger to the peace of the state.

Abuja Residents Unaware Of Digital Switch Over

Digital Switchover, AbujaSome residents of Abuja said they are unaware of Nigeria’s digital switch over plans and its implications, six months away from the June 2017 deadline.

The complaints are coming barley one week after the Federal Government launched the switch over in the Federal Capital Territory.

The government said as Abuja became the second Nigerian state to be digitised, six more states would be digitised in the coming months.

In an interview with Channels Television’s crew on Tuesday, one of the residents, Mr Emmanuel Ogbaini, said they were not aware that Abuja has been digitised.

Mr Augustine Aweh and Miss Ann Ozoibie, who also reside in Nigeria’s capital, said they were ignorant of the fact that they could watch 30 free-to-air channels with nearly 70% local content on their television sets, with the aid of a set-top box already subsidised by the Federal Government.

Other residents, who lauded the development, stressed the need for mass campaign and enlightenment to get the masses informed on the progress and the benefits.

Non-evacuation Of Refuse In Asaba Increases Resident’s Worries

Asaba Residents on RefuseResidents of Asaba have expressed displeasure with the non-evacuation of refuse on the median strips on some major roads in the capital city of Delta State.

The residents claimed that the activity has led to the re-appearance of bags of refuse in Asaba in Nigeria’s South-south region.

They said that in the recent times, the indiscriminate dumping of refuse around the nukes and crannies of the capital city had been on the increase, as some people were even spotted in the act.

Residents fear their health is in danger, as the stench from the refuse is becoming unbearable.

In his reaction, the Chairman of Oshimili South Local Government Council, Mr Chucks Obusom, explained the causes of the ugly trend and frowned at the perpetrators of the act.

He said that the government was aware of such ugly act and assured the residents that they would effect and enforce laws that would control and prevent people from dumping refuse on the streets and main roads.

In his contribution, a Gynaecology consultant at the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba, Dr. Babatunde Oyefara, highlighted the dangers of the act.

He said the hazards could not be overemphasised, as he stated that some of the effects on the health of an average person residing in the capital city and its environs.

This is happening at a period that some states in Nigeria are converting waste to wealth to keep the city clean and increase Internally Generated Revenue.

Lagos State had few years ago established an agency, Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), in charge of refuse removal and onward conversion of such wastes to other materials through recycling processes.

Residents Commend Return Of Checkpoints In Yobe

yobe-CheckpointsCheckpoints have resurfaced in Yobe State, in compliance to the nationwide “stop and search” directive by the Inspector General of Police aimed at checking the activities of dissident Boko Haram members.

A visit to most check points in Damaturu metropolis and along the Damaturu-Maiduguri highway by Channels Television’s team, revealed that some checkpoints have reappear to contend with the wave of attack by the dreaded sect members.

Although the checkpoints were relaxed initially as directed, they have fully reappeared shortly after the counter-directive by the Police boss to take care of the situation in the security-threatened north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

Residents seem to be pleased with the development, with a call on the new Security Chiefs to bring in more security personnel that would help solve the insecurity problem bedeviling the region.

Residents in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, expressed the belief that if the security operatives would remain professionally committed to their operation, the rate of terrorists’ attacks would be tackled.

The presence of more troops on major highways and crannies within Yobe, according to them, would go a long way in checking the movement of arms, explosive devices and the terrorists group.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Toyin Gbadegesin, said “since the order was given, there was immediate compliance with the directives, as the Police have also moved in with lots of other measures to ensure that there will not be an adverse effect of such change”.

He said about 500 patrol vehicles had been received by the Yobe Command to ensure frequent surveillance within the security threatened states.

According to him, the recent measure of establishment of checkpoint across Nigeria was a change of strategy for better results.

Gombe State Declares Curfew After Boko Haram Attack

Abubakar ShekauThe Gombe State Government has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Gombe metropolis area of the state after a fierce attack by member of the Boko Haram in the early hours of Saturday.

The imposition of the curfew was announced by the Secretary to the State  Government, Abubakar Sule Bage, during a press briefing.

Gombe, the state capital, today experienced the first broad daylight attack carried out by suspected Boko Haram militants, who have been launching series of attack on innocent civilians and security forces in the troubled north-east geopolitical region of Nigeria.

Residents told Channels Television that the insurgents have carried out an early morning attack on Hina and Dadin-Kowa communities of Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of the state, before extending the attack to Gombe metropolis.

Witnesses also said the quarter guard of the military barracks located in the heart of the town was attacked and burnt by the insurgents after which the attack was repelled by security forces.

It was also revealed to Channels Television that the terrorists group circulated a letter, warning people of the state not to come out for the 2015 general elections.

It was also gathered that an air force fighter jet that was deployed to the troubled area assisted in repelling the attack.

Dadin-Kowa residents also said the insurgents who are within town are chanting war songs and warning residents not to come out for the proposed elections.

The spokesman for the Police in Gombe State, Mr Fwaji Atajiri, confirmed the attack.

He told  Channels Television that the security forces were working towards restoring peace in the troubled Gombe metropolis and environs.

Gombe state is one of the troubled north-east states of Nigeria, with prevailing cases of Boko Haram insurgency with ceaseless cases of attacks around the northern and eastern parts of the state bordering Yobe and Borno States respectively.

Earlier Reports

In earlier reports, Reuters quoted a witness, Abdul Hassan, as saying that soldiers ran away after the checkpoint was overwhelmed. The militants then burned down a police station on the outskirts of town, he said.

“I crossed a river and ran into the hills,” he said. “I’m still there and I can hear the fighting.”

Other residents have been forced to stay indoors, with another witness, Hussaina Maji, saying she was unable to leave her house for fear of being caught in crossfire.

“There are gun shot sounds everywhere and heavy artillery fire. People are running down the streets from the area which under attack, The whole town is in a state of panic,” resident Godfret Obeate told Reuters by telephone.

Security authorities have not confirmed the attack and the number of casualties is unknown.

The Boko Haram sect has continued to attack communities in the north-east region of Nigeria, as it pushes for an Islamic state, posing a grave security threat to Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer.

Thousands have been killed while hundreds have been kidnapped, with the group increasing its threats in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The countries have formed a Multinational Joint Force to battle the insurgents.

Could Not Guarantee Voters’ Safety

Nigeria’s general elections was last week postponed, with the electoral body citing security operative’s advice and request for a shift to enable them secure towns in the north-east before the elections.

The military had told the Independent National electoral Commission that it could not guarantee the safety of lives and property in the region during elections, demanding for six weeks to degrade the activities of the terrorist group.

On Thursday, the West African Allied Forces led by the Nigerian military, supported by Chad, Niger and Cameroon, stormed the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, killing a good number of insurgents.

A top military source told Channels Television that the air forces bombarded the insurgents, before ground forces moved in and incapacitated the insurgents.

Already the insurgents have been pushed out of Gamboru which lies on the Nigerian border with Cameroon.

Boko Haram attacked a village in Chad on Friday, the first known lethal attack in that country by the sect, which killed several people including a local chief according to residents and security forces.