River Benue Surge Displaced Over 700,000 People
Sept 13, 2012 – River Benue Flood Displaced Over 700,000 People
Mrs Terver Gbega and her three children are presently in confusion because of the havoc invoked by the River Benue surge on herself and over 700,000 other people in Benue State Nigeria. www.naijagists.com
The woman who owns a house in Kutcha Otebe in Makurdi, Benue state Nigeria has been left stranded with all her belongings drenched and packed in an open ground far away from her house.
Her house has been taken over by flood. Worse still is the fact that she cannot think of an immediate place to relocate her family and belongings to, as she consistently made desperate phone calls, apparently to get some help from friends and family.
Gbeda lamented: “My husband is not here. He works in Uyo. I have been calling my sister-in-law and she said she was coming but up till now I have not seen her. All my belongings are drenched in the flood. The few things that people helped me to recover are all here in the open and I don’t know where to pack them. I am stranded.”
Mrs. Gbeda is not the only one in this condition. She is just one of the over 700,000 persons directly affected by flooding in various parts of Benue State.
Most houses along the bank of River Benue, up to about 10 kilometres radius of the river, had been affected.
The which started Sunday morning like a child’s play, continued to surge and submerge more and more houses with property worth several millions of naira destroyed.
However, many persons had paid no attention to the warning and continued with their normal businesses until they were now taken unawares by the surging water.
Other affected areas included Gyado Villa, Rice Mill, Wadata, New Garage and part of North Bank area of Makurdi.
The main campus of the Benue State University (BSU), the newly constructed BSU Teaching Hospital, provincial headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God as well as the Judges’ Quarters where most prominent citizens of the state, including former Governor George Akume, Minister of State (Trade and Investment) Chief Samuel Ortom and many House of representatives members (past and present) have their residential buildings are also seriously threatened by the flood.
A resident of the area, Mr. Romeo Dajoh, said the water had continued to rise three days after it started.
Dajoh said: “We did not know that it would get to this extent. When it started on Sunday, I even went to church with my family, thinking that by the time we would come back, it would have gone down but as you can see, it keeps coming more and more.”
Dajoh however blamed the development to what he termed the nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government to the dredging of the River Benue, stressing that if the Benue River had been dredged before now, it would have reduced the impact of the flood.
Geoffery Gbamua is one of the scores of BSU students living in the area.
Gbamua said that they had to continue to stay even after the state government warned everyone living in flood-prone areas to leave because they had nowhere else to go.
He said: “We did not know it would get to our building at all since we live about eight kilometres away from the river bank. Government said those who are living within five kilometers radius should leave. So, we didn’t know it would get to our side at all.”
Meanwhile, the state Governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, who visited the affected area along Makurdi/Gboko Road on Monday in company with the Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Hon. John Ngbede, and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) boss, Adikpo Agbatse, as well as other top government officials sympathized with the victims and promised that the government would quickly construct drainages in the area.
Suswam described the incident as a very unfortunate natural disaster, which should not be blamed on anybody.
He promised to evacuate those affected by the flood to a community school in Makurdi while also calling on the Federal Government to come to the aid of the victims. (dailysunreports)