From Nuel Anaba, Makurdi
At least one person has been killed after heavy rains caused rivers to burst their banks, flooding many communities in Benue state.
The State Emergency Management Agency said on Friday that no less than 110,000 people were affected by the flood which destroyed at least 2000 homes. Though there were no death reports, residences have confirmed that a child was killed in the flood.
“We were able to speak to a woman and one of her children was killed in the night, two are in the hospital as a result of the collapse of a building,” said Helen Teghtegh, Executive Director of community links and human empowerment initiative, in Benue state.
“The rains have stopped for the past two days so waters are going down, but a lot of property and farmland are affected,” she said.
21 communities suffered heavy flooding, with those close to waterways hardest hit, while many thatched houses were destroyed after becoming saturated, she added.
The national emergency management agency said it had deployed a rescue team to the region.
Many residents in the state capital, Makurdi, have abandoned their homes since Wednesday, with images of the city showing cars and thousands of homes completely submerged.
Men and women were seen carrying mattresses, bags and other belongings as they fled on foot.
Two relief camps have been opened in Makurdi to shelter the homeless.
Benue state, which is heavily dependent on its agricultural sector, has suffered repeated flooding in recent years, caused by heavy rains and the opening of dams in neighboring Cameroon.
The manager of the camp hosting persons displaced by the Makurdi flood, Mr. James Iorhuna, decried the poor state of social and medical facilities at the camp.
Iorhuna told the news agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Makurdi that the camp, located at the Makurdi international market, was “not habitable.”
“Internally displaced persons faced with health challenges have no place for medical attention; with 450 households already registered here, there is an urgent need for more facilities,” he said.
Iorhuna particularly regretted that the camp had no food, mosquito nets, health facilities, mattresses and other essentials that could guarantee minimum comfort for the flood victims.
“The IDPs have nothing to eat. They are still waiting for the relief materials promised by the government. For now, everyone is helpless,” he said.