With floods ravaging parts of Benue, Kogi, Anambra, Rivers, Edo and Delta states, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has warned that the situation could get worse as the Rivers Niger and Benue were close to overflowing their banks.
Many residents in Kogi that live close to the riverbanks have been forced to relocate as their houses are already submerged.
According to the Executive Secretary, Kogi State Emergency Management Agency, Alhassan Ayeggba, about 45, 000 persons have been displaced in Kogi, and are camped in various IDP camps across the state. About 200 communities in about 10 Local Government Areas in the state are affected.
Governor Yahaya Bello who addressed journalists in Lokoja, the state capital, at the weekend, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their aid and help the victims of the flood disaster, as the situation had gone beyond what the state alone can handle.
According to him, the water level this year is far beyond what they experienced in 2012. He said the 2018 flood disaster is already biting harder in most communities across the state.
The situation in Koton-Karfe and Ibaji which are among the worst hit local government by the flood is alarming as the state High Court in Koton-Karfe, houses, clinics, churches, mosque and farmland have all been submerged by the flood.
Over 30,000 people are reported to have been displaced in Edo state while about 700 houses including large farmlands have been affected by flash floods following heavy rains in parts of Rivers state. The floods began since August.
On Sunday, President Buhari responded by saying that he has authorized the NEMA to declare a “national disaster” if necessary, saying that the Federal Government was closely monitoring the situation.
He also said that while the military’s Disaster Response Units will be activated, for search and rescue missions, the sum of N3 billion has been approved for the procurement of medical and relief materials to meet the needs of victims of the flooding.
“I have approved 3 billion Naira for the procurement of medical and relief materials to meet the needs of victims of the flooding. NEMA is also providing me with regular updates on the situation.”
It is hoped the release of funds would tackle the absence of health facilities at the different IDP camps. A Guardian report on Sunday said the situation was already posing medical challenges to the IDPs who need medical attention.
“But matters recently got worse with the birth of three babies at the Koton Karfe IDP camp. Ayishat Zakeriya from Adamogu Community delivered a baby boy; Maryam Ishaq from Akpaku Village delivered a baby girl, and Sakinat Musa, also from Akpaku Village delivered another boy.” the report said.
According to the Director-General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, “water inflow into Rivers Niger and Benue is so huge that both rivers can only accommodate less than two meters of water before they will overflow their banks into nearby communities.
In Anambra state, people living in floods-prone areas have been advised to immediately relocate to approved Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) centres across the state.
The state said it had established 28 camps across the state for possible flood victims.
The authorities are struggling to put measures in place in order to avpid a repeat of what happened in 2012 when floods killed about 363 people and displaced over 2.1 million others in 30 states.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency had at the onset of the rainy season, listed 12 states likely to be affected by floods.