© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
DISASTER: Dozens of communities in Niger State submerged in flood
OVER one hundred communities have been submerged in flood in Niger State as a result of the overflow of the River Niger following torrential rainfalls, Channels Television has reported.
Residents of the affected communities have been evacuated as the flood covered entire houses leaving only the rooftops visible. Thankfully, no casualty has been recorded in the disaster so far.
Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, visited the flooded areas on Thursday, alongside members of the state’s cabinet. He told journalists that the state government is doing everything possible to get people out to safer locations.
Bello said this was not the first time the state would be witnessing flooding disasters, adding that residents had refused to relocate from the flood-prone areas despite several warnings. According to him, the people said they could not abandon their ancestral homes.
Reports also have it that the people of the community are mostly fishermen and farmers and they rely so much on the River Niger for their daily survival, hence their reluctance to relocate away from the waterways.
The Governor said the ultimate solution will be to relocate the people living along the waterways, “but that will be later. Right now, we want to see how we can provide them with their basic needs, food, drugs, and other relief materials”.
On Wednesday, the Director General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Ibrahim Inga, said the flooding was also made worse by the release of water from the Shiroro hydroelectric power station.
“This water is flowing from Shiroro hydroelectric power station as a result of the spillage ongoing into the villages. We have communicated the management of Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Station to reduce the level of their spilling to enable the people to return to their homes,” Inga said.
But Governor Bello told journalists on Thursday that the waters do not appear to be receding, “In fact, we expect it to get worse”. He added that the disaster was no longer what the state government can handle alone, and urged the federal government to come to their assistance.