Scores of people have been killed by flood in several states of northern Nigeria where unusually heavy rains have swollen rivers and streams across the region in the last two weeks. Whole villages and farmlands in Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi states have been submerged.
Last Tuesday, an executive member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Katsina State, Surajo Audu, drowned while crossing a river to his village, Gwanamarde, from Yammama after a heavy rainfall. The councillor representing the late Mr. Audu’s ward, Mainasara Abubakar, who confirmed the deaths on Thursday, added that dozens of houses collapsed as a result of the inundation. Elsewhere, a woman identified as Lubabatu Umar from Kurmin-Sarki village and a two-year-old child were also killed when a house collapsed on them.
The flood overran villages in about seven states, with increasing number of deaths and loss of cattle reported across the region, and thousands of people displaced. Although flooding has become more or less an annual environmental disaster for the region in recent years, especially during the peak of the rainy season, this year has recorded some of the worst cases. Dutsema Local Government Area (LGA), which is the largest LGA in Kastina State, has recorded over 1700 displaced people. Hundreds of houses were also destroyed by the rainfall.
Thousands of people were also displaced following the flood which swept through Goronyo local government of Sokoto State, while more than 2,000 houses were destroyed in the four villages of Kagara, Boye Kai, Balla and Giyawa. Property worth millions of naira was lost to the rising waters. In addition, farm produce and farmlands were washed away.
The governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko, yesterday ordered the immediate release of N200 million for the rehabilitation of victims of the flood disaster in the state. Mr Wamakko, who spoke while on a visit to the victims of the flood disaster in four villages in Goronyo, also promised more support for the victims. He said another N30 million will be released to the council for the purchase of essential commodities for the victims.
A great threat
The flooding in Goronyo, according to reports, was as a result of attempts by some of the villagers to expand the water channels of Goronya dam to prevent it from bursting. The vice chairman of the local government, Faruk Rimawa, said the dam posed a great threat to the people of the area because of the likelihood that it could burst at anytime. The displaced people in the four villages have been relocated to a temporary camp at the Adamu Mu’azu Model Science Secondary School, Goronyo.
In Jigawa State, about 25 villages were reportedly submerged after a river burst its banks owing to the torrential rainfall, displacing about 7,000 people and washing away 3,000 hectares of crops in the last two weeks. Umar Kyari, the government’s spokesperson, said the state government was working hard to mitigate the impact of the flood.
A cross-section of residents in Kastina State called on the state government to construct more drainage. They, however, commended the state governor, Ibrahim Shema, for diverting the Ashada Lafia river that passed through Malumfashi town, otherwise the devastation would have being worse.
In Zamfara State, over 2000 acres of farmland was washed away in Gummi Local Government Area while 3,000 people are displaced in Kano State, with Shanono and Gadasawa local government areas being the worst affected.