From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
No fewer than 150 communities have been submerged by flood in the nine local government areas along the riverine areas of Kogi State.
The state’s Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Pharm. Sanusi Yahaya, disclosed this while speaking to journalists after stakeholders meeting at the State Emergency Operation Centre in Lokoja over the weekend.
The commissioner noted that the State Emergency Operation Centre had been activated in the state as a result of river flooding.
Yahaya, who also doubles as the state Coordinator, Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), said that out of nine LGAs located along the banks of River Niger and Benue, seven LGAs were severely affected while other two were not so severe.
According to him, the LGAs severely affected are: Ibaji, Kogi, Koton Karfe, Lokoja, Ofu, Ajaokuta, Omala and Idah, saying over 90 per cent of Ibaji communities have been submerged.
‘’Particularly, majority of communities at Ibaji are under water, and many households have been affected and displaced.
‘’As we speak, the water level has risen very high to about 10.60m in Lokoja from the report of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).
‘’In the last few days, many communities, settlements have been displaced as a result of flooding,’’ he said.
He said that over 20 camps had been opened to accommodate flood victims which were spread across the nine affected LGAs.
He, therefore, advised residents of flood-prone and affected communities to relocate to safer places or move to the nearest camps which had been opened by the state and local governments, to avoid loss of lives and property.
‘’Off course with the activation of the state emergency centre, the state is collaborating with all the relevant stakeholders to make timely appropriate responses.
‘’The state needs help; while we are working within the resources available to us, we need temporary shelter provision, food, non-food items and water, which the affected victims would need.
‘’In terms of efforts to document the displaced persons; the profiling is ongoing and we will keep updating the number of the affected households and persons.
‘’Our officers are in the field profiling, and we have to put it together before we can give out figures, and this figure will keep changing day by day,’’ he said.
He, however, noted that no human casualty had been recorded in terms of death, but stressed that the situation the victims were facing was precarious.
The commissioner urged the Federal Government through NEMA to come the aid of the state, while appealing to individuals, organisations and other relevant stakeholders to assist the state.
‘’We have the Flood Estate in Lokoja which is directly under the control of Kogi SEMA, and it is already opened for habitation and those to occupy them have been profiled for camping.
‘’But we do not have enough camps that could accommodate all the affected people, so we are calling on the general public to assist and also accommodating the victims.
‘’We have camps that we have built toilet and provided borehole especially with the support of the Red Cross; many of those camps have toilets and water through borehole.
‘’The state is equally doing her best to make sure that sanitation, water and hygiene is ensured.
‘’We are pleading for more emergency shelter like tent to support the state’s efforts, because what we have are not enough. We want federal government, organisations and individuals to support us,’’ he said.
He named some of the submerged communities as Adankolo, Gadumo, Egan, Budon, Kinani, Esikaku, Oreza, Edimose, Enumayi, Ogbangede, Iganumo, Bagana, Obakume, and Idirisu.
Others are Edeha, Adabode, Edegaki, Akpaku, Okpaka, Adamogu, Kasemiya, Kpakpazi, Kelebe, Ozahi, Panda, Ikumo, Irenodu, Iganumo, Geregu, among several others.