Bauchi — Early in the year, the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) warned that many states may experience flood this rainy season as a result of the heavy rainfall expected in the year.
True to its prediction, residents of Bauchi State were recently inundated by flooding following a heavy rainfall that left nine people dead and many houses destroyed.
Penultimate week the state witnessed a heavy rainfall in Bauchi metropolis and 13 out of the 20 local government areas of the state.
The rainfall led to the death of nine people including a seven-year-old girl and three women. It also sacked many families from their houses and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
In his account of the incident, Chairman, Distribution Relief Committee of the State Emergency Management Agency SEMA, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Bello, said, “Heavy down pour was witnessed in Bauchi State, most especially the state capital in the past two weeks. Initial assessment put the loss recorded at nine deaths.” It affected 13 local government areas that included Dambam, Kirfi, Alkaleri, Zaki, Bogoro, Toro, Jama’are, Shira, Itas/Gadau, Darazo, Ganjuwa, Dass and Bauchi local governments. The flooding mostly affected residential buildings and farmlands. Also, 17 persons were injured, 3,250 persons were displaced, 2,217 farmlands were submerged, 1,529 houses affected; some were destroyed.
The agency quickly opened relief camps at Adamami Primary School, Shira LGA Primary School, and Tarbuwa Primary School in Zaki Local Government Area.
The state government also responded and assisted the victims with relief materials.
Bauchi State Governor, Malam Isa Yuguda, said: “The cause of the endemic flood was the inability of the people of the state to abide by the earlier warning sent to them by government officials. Because of people’s attitude and over dependence on government – they want government to do everything for them – they dump refuse and everything inside their drainages waiting for government to come and evacuate them for them.”
Yuguda said the flood has caused buildings to collapse, washed away roads and drainages, and washed away erosion prone soils.
He said that the flood has led to erosion all over the state. He sympathized with the people affected, noting however that the disaster was an act of God.
“Now we have erosion all over the state, and we also over-flooding all over the state, and I want to sympathize with every person affected. Government is very sympathetic to what has happened as a natural thing,” he said and further enumerated that “in particular the state capital, major cities and urban centres like Ningi, Misau, Jama’are, Dass, Azare and quite a number of heavily populated local government headquarters.”
Yuguda therefore appealed to the people within the basin to relocate until when the rains subside, and urged the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to expedite action on the construction of multi-billion naira decades abandoned Kafin Zaki Dam in the state.
He said: “The Federal Ministry of Water Resources had made promises that it would initiate the construction of Kafin Zaki Dam. We are witnessing a lot of loss of precious resource, the water we are supposed to impound to fill the proposed dam.”
Governor Yuguda stated that the heavy rains were a big threat to the dam as it could lead to the collapse of the embankment, which would lead to flood in the area, saying that the effect of that would not be palatable.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently assist the state with regards to the weak embankment of the dam, saying that, “if care is not taken and rescue carried out immediately, we stand the risk of losing the dam. And if this happens, millions of people will die as we have many people living downstream here.
He then stated government’s plan to construct additional water treatment plants to complement the existing one and make every household have a tap for portable and clean water. He advised people to be careful in the use of well water, stressing that they should boil water to avoid water-borne diseases.
Yuguda also appealed to the people to clean up drainages and gutters, as well as clear refuse dumps and structures along water ways as precaution against flooding, recalling that satellite reports received were not encouraging as far as flooding is concerned this season.
He said, “As we are not adequately prepared for such forecast emergencies, let’s use the little resources we have, human and material, to secure our lives, properties and our environment.” He said the forecast showed heavy down pour for the months of August and September.
The governor maintained that people should abide by building regulations; learn to adopt the policy of self-help, as government cannot do it alone as resources at its disposal are overstretched.
He announced a two-day work free period to allow residents to clean their drainages and assured that the state government would review the drainage master plan for Bauchi in view of the recent flooding in the town, adding that the state capital had grown in size and proportion in last 12 years.
He said, “We have a drainage master plan for Bauchi which has stalled. There is an urgent need for us to review it, considering the fact that Bauchi has grown 10 folds since 2002. You can see that we have to go back to the drawing board and do yet another planning of the drainages of the entire town.”
The Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleimanu Adamu, also added his voice to the call on the people to take all precautions and to come out in their numbers to participate in the clearing of drainages and waterways in their areas to avert flood in the state this year.
The royal father made the call when he received a delegation of the State Executive Council, led by the state Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Mahmud Maijama’a, who were at the palace to intimate him on government’s effort to tackle the menace of flood in the state.
The emir said it was important for the people to participate in the clearing exercise in view of the heavy rains being witnessed this year in the state, adding that clearing waterways would ensure free flow of water whenever it rained.
He directed district and village heads to be actively involved in the exercise as well as mobilize their subjects to participate.
Meanwhile, some farmers in the area who spoke to Daily Trust correspondent expressed fear over the rate at which the rains are falling this year, saying that they may not be able to have bumper harvest, as some crops do not thrive with much water.
SEMA official, Inuwa Bello and many residents explained that the two days declared work-free by the state government recently and its current effort have yielded results as many drainages were evacuated.
Residents urged the state government to evacuate all the heaps of refuse dumps along major roads to avoid diseases.
Category: Bauchi State News