Nigeria flood disaster ‘worst since 1948’ – More than 600,000 people displaced, 589 square miles of farmland destroyed – Crocodiles and hippos washed into homesPosted by Jim at Tuesday, October 16, 2012
By Felix Onuah and Tim Cocks
11 October 2012
LOKOJA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday visited some of the hundreds of thousands of people made homeless by the country's worst flooding in at least five decades, calling it a 'national disaster'.
Vast stretches of Africa's most populous nation have been submerged by floods in the past few weeks, as major rivers like the Niger, the continent's third longest, burst their banks.
At least 140 people have been killed, hundreds of thousands uprooted and tens of thousands of hectares of farmland have been submerged since the start of July, raising concerns about food security, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
In Kogi, a northern state that has been the worst affected and which Jonathan visited on Thursday, NEMA state coordinator Ishaya Chonoko said 623,900 people had been displaced and 152,575 hectares of farmland destroyed so far.
"We are very sad over these flood incidences in the country. It is a national disaster," Jonathan said with a sombre expression, after casting an eye over the makeshift displacement camp huddling 738 people together in Dankolo primary school.
"We are thinking of how to settle you all back to your places after the floods. Government is doing everything possible to cushion the effects on you … it will soon be over."
Nigeria, which gets heavy tropical rains from May to September, usually suffers from seasonal flash floods but almost never on this scale. Floods have also devastated the Niger Delta, home to Africa's biggest energy industry, where the Niger river fans into creeks before emptying itself into the Atlantic.
There has been no reported impact on crude oil production, but a cocoa industry body said last month that cocoa output would fall far short of a 300,000 tonne target for last season.
"I have lost all hope in life, because I lost all that I had," said victim Dan Musa Mosiji, but he added that he was comforted by government reassurances that he could be resettled.
As images have trickled out of stranded villagers perched on rooftops and fuel trucks washed onto their sides, pressure has mounted for the government to act, and it has pledged millions of dollars for relief efforts.
"Our major problem here is that we don't have accommodation for all the victims. They are crammed into this small school," said Red Cross coordinator of the camp, Jubril Ebiloma, as families squeezed together in a classroom behind her.
By Matthew Onah
15 October 2012
As President Goodluck Jonathan, paid a whistle stop inspection visit to the food ravaged plains of Adamawa State Monday, the state government has appealed for more federal government and other multi-lateral organizations' assistance in tackling the medium and long term effects of the disaster.
Speaking in Gurin, Fulfore Local Government Council Area the President reassured the flood victims of government support to recover from the disaster.
Jonathan, who inspected the flood ravaged area in a helicopter, told people at a refugee camp, that government would do everything possible to make sure they returned to their normal life activities.
"On behalf of the government of Nigeria, I assure you that we will do our best," Jonathan said.
The President said necessary government agencies including Army Engineers had been mobilised to tackle the situation and provide remedy.
In his speech, Gov Murtala Nyako, commended the President for his show of concern by visiting the state saying that the state government had set up 68 camps for displaced persons across the state.
He said his administration was planning a comprehensive package for farmers who lost their crops to be provided with early yielding variety seeds of rice and maize that would mature in 60 days.
Also in his speech, the chairman of the Adamawa Flood Committee, Mr Kobis Thimnu, said the flood was the worst to affect the state since 1948.
Thimnu said the flood was caused by the released of water from Lagdo Dam in neighbouring Cameroon as well as Dadin Kowa and Kiri Dams in Nigeria leading to loss of lives and properties worth billions of naira.
Earlier, a spokesman of the flood victims, Mr Manasa Nagugun, commended government and other stakeholders particularly NEMA, SEMA, Red Cross, and UNICEF for the sustained concern and support to those affected by the flood.
Nagugun called for a relief package in form of soft loans so the affected persons could go back to their normal lives and businesses.
The disaster is compounded by the health challenges confronting the people, in the disaster areas, such as cholera, typhoid, and malaria, arising out of poor drinking water, especially as the flood water begins to recede.
Meanwhile, the state Government has announced a merger of its public schools throughout the state, as a result of the flood ravaging the state.
The state Commissioner of Education, Mr. Gabriel Hamman-Adama, said the merger became necessary as a total of 89 primary and secondary schools have been submerged across Adamawa by the flood disaster ravaging the state.
He said over 48 other schools had been taken over as camps by communities displaced by the flood disaster.
"About 89 primary and secondary schools are seriously submerged in the flood to the extent that you cannot get to these schools as at now," Hamman-Adama said.
By Blessing Anaro and Bukola Idowu
14 October 2012
It is good news that the federal government has pledged some money to victims of the flood disaster that has ravaged almost every state in the country. But unless something more than usual rituals of giving money and paying lip service to problems is done, and very fast, the kind of hunger that drove nations to Egypt in the old testament of the bible might be repeating itself soon.
One, a lot of human capital; that is human beings have been lost to the flood in most part of the country. Secondly, crops have not only been lost, but the seedlings that would have been planted next planting season have also gone with the ravaging flood which has not shown any sign of abetting yet.
This flood disaster is not only a challenge to the various tiers of government, but one that is putting to test a 'Nigerian System'.
For instance, how bank loans would have gone down the drain as a result of the flood, and how useful is the Nigerian insurance industry in event such as this?
Although heavy rains and huge floods had been predicted by the metrological 'soothsayers', the government and people of Nigeria were not prepared for the torrential overflowing waters that have taken over major areas of the nation's food basket.
Lagos had witnessed the first session of the floods claiming lives and property, but that was soon overwhelmed by the Ibadan and Jos disasters. Many had believed that the worst had come and gone until last month when the Niger River overflowed its banks, halting travellers in their tracks and sending many out of their homes.
Nature continued its rage as water levels rose in many states in the north, east and western parts of the country, submerging businesses, residential and farmlands. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is having its hands full with one rescue mission after the other, emergency camps are overfilling and donations keep pouring in from government, non-governmental and charity organisations.
The chief servant of the country, President Goodluck Jonathan had in his last Tuesday national broadcast announced the release of N17.6 billion as direct financial assistance to the affected states and some Federal Government agencies responsible for disaster management.
He also announced the constitution of a National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to assist the Federal Government raise funds to mitigate the pains and ensure the effective post-impact of rehabilitation of victims.
Despite the rescue and relief efforts, there seems to be one issue that is yet to be mentioned or addressed: food security. It is quite evident that most of the affected states are the major food baskets of the country.
Many farmlands that ought to be either in planting or harvesting season are now many feet under water. Germinating crops have been overtaken by water and are presumably rotting away, while soil nutrients are being flushed away.
The lives of some farmers are being saved, though some were lost, their farms and investments are already laid to waste. Properties and investments may be lost, but lives are important and must be rescued.
According to Director, Kogi State Ministry of Information, Mr. James Adedoyin, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) had revealed that an estimated 152,575 hectares [589 square miles] of farmlands were destroyed in 344 communities which were completely submerged by the flood.
Although Osun state said it had been able to protect its farmlands, other states affected by the flood were not so lucky with one local government in Katsina recording the loss of over 146 farmlands to the floods.
However, one question silently looms; what happens when the floods recede? […]
3 October 2012 (BBC) – Dangerous animals, including crocodiles, snakes and hippos, have found their way into homes and communities in central Nigeria after devastating flooding, residents say.
The creatures were carried along flood-swollen rivers, say the authorities.
"There is now a hippopotamus in [my] house," Benue state resident Wuese Jirake told the BBC. "I hope that when it is tired, it may leave my home."
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the flooding.
Hundreds also died in the worst flooding in decades.
Vast tracts of farmland have been completely destroyed.
Mr Jirake told the BBC he had returned to his home to find it occupied by the hippo.
"This morning I visited my house. It is still inundated with the flood waters above my waist. There is now a hippopotamus in the house," he said.
He said he had reported the situation to the authorities.
"I hope that when it is tired, it may leave my home. If there is any other way of dealing with the problem, the authorities need to pursue that because it is beyond my abilities."
Similar situations have been reported in the towns of Makurdi, Agatu, Logo and Adoka, says the BBC's Is'haq Khalid.
Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency says it is working hand in hand with the Benue state government and other relevant agencies to ensure the flood victims return to their homes.
The co-ordinator of the agency in north-central Nigeria, Abdussalam Muhammad, told the BBC that it was not safe for people to go back to their houses because of the presence of the dangerous animals.
"Presently there are crocodiles and snakes as well as other dangerous animals brought in by the floodwaters that are living in those houses, so, if the people return, it will be harmful to them and they will put their lives at risk," he said.
He said people should wait for instructions after the floodwaters have subsided.