Post-flood Kogi residents count losses
Residents of Sarkin Noma, a suburb of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, which was ravaged by a flash flood on Thursday, are still reeling. Daily Trust reports that many people were forced to flee as surging flood waters from a tributary of River Niger submerged their homes and shops in Lokoja following several hours of torrential rainfall that began at about midnight till morning.
Our correspondent reports that a stream from Agbaja that flows into the River Niger overflowed its banks to the highway around Kporoko area of the popular Nataco Junction in Lokoja. Several residential buildings and shops around the river bank were submerged in the raging flood. Also submerged are some houses around Felele community in Lokoja.
Motorists and commuters plying the Abuja-Lokoja road were held in traffic gridlock for several hours when some portions of the highway disappeared under flood waters and it became risky to continue with their journey.
When our correspondent visited Sarkin Noma yesterday, residents were arranging what is left of their belongings. A resident, Usman Gimba, said the flood has wreaked unimaginable havoc on his business. He said he lost N500,000 worth of items. “We have been experiencing flash floods almost annually because of the shallow nature of the bridge and water channel. We may still have another occurrence if nothing urgent is done to expand the bridge and the water channel,” he said.
Abubakar Mohammed, who owns a shop along the Sarkin Noma road, is among those heavily-hit by the flood. His goods were affected because the shop is situated close to the bridge where the water overflowed. He said he was at home that fateful morning when he was called by a neighbour that his shop had been flooded. “I quickly rushed down and discovered that the entire road leading to my shop has been submerged. While items worth over N500,000 were destroyed in the raging flood, I was only able to salvage some goods, most which were collected on credit. I really need assistance,” he said.
Abubakar added that he witnessed the flood of 2012 in which he lost over N2million, and that the relief materials disbursed by the federal government during that incident never got to him.
Also, Mohammed Samaila, who deals in sachet water, told Daily Trust that both of the refrigerators he uses have been damaged by the flood. He said that some of the income realised from the sales the previous day which he kept in the shop was also washed away. He also called on the state government to fix the Sarkin-Noma road which he said, has been in a deplorable condition for many decades.
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said it received a distress call of an imminent flood in Sarkin Noma, Ganaja in Lokoja local government area and Igalamela-Odolu LGA of Kogi State, among other areas, urging residents to move to higher ground.
According to a press statement issued by Sani Datti, Head, Media and Public Relations of the agency, a team from the agency is due to arrive the state for appropriate action.
The road leading to Sarkin-Noma community, a suburb of Lokoja after the flood. Itodo Daniel Sule