When River Niger sacked 15 communities, displaced 1000 in Kebbi
From Ismail Adebayo, Birnin Kebbi
Last week, the River Niger overflowed its banks and unleashed havoc on over 15 communities at the border towns of Dole-Kaina and Bagudo in Kebbi State. Over 700 houses, property, livestock and crops about to be harvested were lost to the flood.
According the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), 115 households, 155 women and 567 children were affected at Dole-Kaina and over 1000 people were said to have been displaced in the affected communities.
Some of the communities that were submerged include Shiyar Magaji, Shiyar Kokari, Sabon Gari, Manahare, Tungar Noma and DoleKaina all in Dandi Local Government Area. Others are Tungar Mai Goda, Bakin Wuya, Malami, Kanshiba, Tungar Tutu, Tungar Giris and Tungar Lalea in Bagudo.
One of the victims, Adamu Mudi Dole-Kaina, said, “I lost everything I had to the flood. My house and farmlands were completely submerged. As I speak to you what I have left with me are my wife and six children.
“We must thank the government for coming quickly to remove us from the flooded area. We have nowhere to go. Water has taken over everywhere, but we were lucky they took us out and resettled us here. Since we arrived here they have been taking good care of us as the governor directed. We want government to relocate us to another area where we would not be threatened in future by flood, Dole-Kaina said.
A 69-year-old widow, Hajiya Kulu Musa, said on the day of the flood, she woke up to discover that water coming from the nearby River Niger had completely taken over their community.
“We quickly rushed out for safety and in no time government people came to rescue us. It is over six days now that we were brought to this camp. I am a widow; I have 19 children and more than 47 grandchildren. I don’t know what would have happened to my family if they had not come for us.
“I am really grateful to Almighty God and the governor for all they are doing to assist us, but we want them to relocate us. We don’t want to go back to our community for fear of recurrence of this kind of incident. We are too close to the river, Hajiya Kulu lamented.
Jemila Zakariya, a housewife with four children, told our correspondent that, “This is our fifth day in this camp. We thank God even though we lost all that we had to the flood but we are alive. We are being well taken care of. They brought different food items, mosquito nets and medical personnel here for our wellbeing and that of our children.”
The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Suleiman Argungu, who is also the chairman of the committee set up by the state government to deal with the flood incident told our correspondent that they had made assessment of the situation in all the affected areas of Dole-Kaina and Bagudo and that measures were being taken to deal with it.
“The IDPs have been resettled at Lolo Primary School and necessary food and medical supplies have been procured for their welfare. The governor has deployed relevant agencies to deal with the emergency situation of the IDPs and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has been directed to contact relevant national emergency agencies such as NEMA,” the chief of staff concluded.
While speaking on the development, Chairman of Dandi Local Government Area, Alhaji Salihu Kamba Dila, said, “I was in Saudi Arabia for Hajj when they called to tell me about the unfortunate incident involving some of the communities in Dole-Kaina
“The border market was completely submerged. The River Niger overflowed its banks and submerged eight of the communities in this area. It was beyond what we could handle because over 700 households and property were affected. So we quickly informed the state government. The governor was here to see how the flood destroyed the communities and he immediately ordered that a primary school be used for their temporary resettlement and made provision for their welfare, Dila said.
While our correspondent was being conducted round the submerged communities, the Secretary of Dandi Local Government Council, Alhaji Lawali Garba Alwasa, said, “We had gone round the communities in a canoe and you have seen how devastating the situation is. Over 700 houses were affected; many of their livestock, foodstuff and grains about to be harvested were completely destroyed in the various farmlands. As we speak, we cannot quantify the extent of the damage because more communities are still being submerged due to heavy rainfall.
“Many of our people were displaced and are currently resettled at a primary school at Dole-Kaina on the order of the state governor. They brought grains, mattresses, medicine, water tanks and other essential needs to alleviate their suffering. We still need more support from the Federal Government and other humanitarian agencies to cater for the need of the over 1000 IDPs.”
On the health of the IDPs, the Assistant Chief Nursing Officer at the Border Hospital, Dole-Kaina, Lawali Saidu, told Daily Trust that the major sicknesses so far recorded at the camp were vomiting and diarrhoea.
Saidu said, “We have taken measures to curb the spread of cholera here. We have taken the samples of stool and vomit.”
He lamented that, “There are 11 health personnel here. We need more qualified medical personnel: a doctor and two nurses, to assist us.”
Zakariya Haruna, who is the deputy camp coordinator, said, “We suffered many losses, the flood has taken away everything we had. I could not remove anything from my house. All I have left is this clothe on me, but I thank God that I am alive with my two wives and six children.”
The Acting Executive Director of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Alhaji Abbas Rabiu, told our correspondent that he got the report on the flood incident on the evening of September 9 and that, “The following day we moved into the affected communities at Dole Kaina with canoes to evacuate the people.