Story from Ahmad SAKA, Bauchi
25 people have lost their lives and 20 others sustained varying degrees of injuries in floods that ravaged 15 local government areas of Bauchi State this year.
Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed gave the figures yesterday at the Government House, Bauchi when he received the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Mohammed, during an advocacy visit.
He said that 3,500 houses destroyed and 2,200 farmlands were washed away in the flood disasters. The quantum of the amount of the farmlands, the houses destroyed by the flooding this year in the state is almost N950 million, “And you know with the lean resources of the government, N950 million is by no means a small amount of money.
“This does not include infrastructure that the government will have to put in, like if you go to Dambam local government, there is a whole road that was washed away in two places, we had to make a small passway so that people can be able to pass.
“If passing from here to after Darazo, you will also see that the road has been washed away. If we have another flood again, it will wash away the remaining half of the road.
“If you go to Shira local government before you get to Disina, there is a place called Bacatma, you’ll see people swimming on the flood or in the water and the road completely cut off,” the Governor said.
Represented by his Deputy, Senator Baba Tela, the Governor lamented that with that level of devastation, hunger is looming in the state since the state is predominantly made up of farmers”
The Governor appreciated NEMA and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Bauchi state, for their roles in mitigating the issue of flooding in the state this year.
He called on the federal government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and through NEMA to do more so that the state can have the capacity to mitigate the effect of the flooding.
Mohammed informed the DG that a substantial part of the food that was given to the state by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development through NEMA, had been distributed to the people affected by the flood.
“We have to do what we can do that if we forecast that we will have a lot of rainfall this year or next year, we have do a lot of work in preparing even before the rains come,” he said.
The Director General of NEMA, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Mohammed, while speaking earlier, said that he was in the state on an advocacy visit round the country in view of the flood emergency that was envisaged.
He commiserated with the government and people of the state particularly those who lost their loved ones and properties during the disasters in the state.
The DG who was represented by the Director Liaison Services of the Agency, Bashir Gargar, lamented that flood has become a recurring experience in Nigeria adding that Bauchi state is among the states known for food production, and the flooding continues to threaten this potential.
He said that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had categorically stated that the country will experience an above normal rainfall in 2020.
Mohammed said: “The annual flood outlook this year predicted that 102 local government areas in 28 states fall within the highly probable risk states while 225 local government areas in 36 states including the FCT, fall within the moderately probable risk zones.
“Unfortunately, the predicted floods have started to occur in many parts of the country, Bauchi state not an exception.
“Therefore, it is imperative to activate all plans and measures against the prediction as the season moves to its peak.
“This year, the highly probable risk area in Bauchi state is Zaki LGA and that probable risk areas with minimal expectations are Alkaleri, Bauchi, Jama’are, Itas Gadau, Tafawa Balewa, Shira, Ganjuwa, Kirfi and Bogoro local government areas of Bauchi state.”
According to him, already floods have been experienced in Dambam, Gamawa, Jamam’are, Warji, Darazo, Itas Gadau, Alkaleri, Zaki and Shira local government areas of Bauchi State.
“On account of this, the Director General of NEMA, employed me and my team members to extend our Agency’s sympathy to the people of this lovely state,” he said.
He urged the state government to take necessary preventive measures because this falls under the purview of the Agency.