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Published On: Sun, Sep 14th, 2014

How torrential downpour rendered many homeless in Jigawa

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HomelessTorrential downpours in recent days have caused widespread destruction and forced many families into makeshift camps in Jigawa State, with a good number of people affected recently, Peoples Daily Ahmed Abubakar examines the destruction done in its wake.

A good number of people have been affected by the floods and concern is growing about the spread of waterborne diseases in some towns in Jigawa State.

Nigeria’s rainy season occurs between May and October. Torrential rains are especially hard on communities in rural areas, where drainage is inadequate or nonexistent. It was said that what supposed to be a blessing is gradually becoming a curse.

Although, desperation for rainfall that was characterised by series of prayers suddenly turned to grief and sorrow when hours of nonstop torrential rainfall wrecked damages to hundreds of houses in Ringim and Taura local government area of Jigawa state recently.

Peoples Daily checks revealed that the Saturday rainfall which lasted since late Friday had resulted in the collapse of several buildings in Ringim and Taura where the victims were provided with temporary shelters within their primary and secondary schools.

Worse hit by the flood were women and children of Nasarawa, Kanti and Galadanci quarters whom were spotted busy trying to desperately rescue clothes and other kitchen items from the debris of what remained of their former houses.

While their men together with the help of neighbours were seen hopelessly busy hacking into the debris searching for any valuables under the already melting mud due to the ceaseless outpour.

Neighbours whose houses were not affected by the damage who also came out to massively support those affected were seen reliantly consoling the victims and offering many of them parts of their rooms to stay.

In Nassarawa quarters of Ringim local government area the affected residents were immediately evacuated by the local government council and able-bodied men to the Sabongida primary school that has since been their new shelter while those of Galadanci and Kanti were accommodated at the Government Day secondary school, Ringim respectively.

The chief of staff to the Jigawa State Governor, Malam Aminu Ibrahim, who conducted the committee round the affected places in Ringim town said the rain had destroyed hundreds of houses in the area.

Ibrahim noted that the affected houses were mostly mud houses and the incident was as a result of poor drainage system that were either blocked by refuse or were nonexistent.

At the Emir of Ringims palace, the Emir Alhaji Sayyadi Mahmoud, who attributed, to the will of God informed that the disaster that has befallen the area is from God and only him could alleviate the sufferings of his servants.

Mahmoud lamented that the flood is becoming a perennial reoccurrence in the area stating that even last year many residents have lost several of their houses and farmlands together with crops owing to a similar incident.

He added that many have to be relocated from a waterlogged area of Yakasawa village where they built their houses and were staying with their families to a barren land.

He however stated his frustration that despite government effort to resettle those affected, the victims were quick to go back to their former lands.

The flood has also flooded the towns of Kyaran, Isari and Chamo in Dutse Local Government Area where the entire towns were submerged from the rainfall.

To cushion the damages suffered by the people, the council chairman, Alhaji Abdulaziz Dankofa, has pledged to completely relocate the people of the three towns to higher lands to avoid the outbreak of other diseases.

Already victims of the flood were taken to the Chamo Primary school as temporary shelters especially for the displaced, women and children.

Peoples Daily reporter who visited Taura Local Government Area also observed that most houses affected and damaged by the rain were due to earlier township road network construction that resulted in the alteration of water ways that bare now blocked by the road.

While conducting members of the committee round the area, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Rabiu Isa, who hails from Taura said the road network was constructed higher above  the drainages by the residents as a result both domestic and rain water could not connect to the major drainage system constructed.

Isa showed the committee how residents have resorted to breaking parts of the concrete culverts to enable the free flow of water into the drainages.

While at Hadejia Local Government Area, there was a serious gridlock along the water ways as a result of blockages that also caused the water to overflow into peoples’ residents and at the same time filling up most of the sock ways.

The state governor Alhaji Sule Lamido, has immediately constituted a committee under the deputy governor to asses the damage, while Commissioners of Water Resources, Health, Education, Local Governments, Environment and Rural infrastructure are members.

During the visit of the committee to the Emir of Hadejia, the State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mahmoud, assured the emir that immediate solutions to the prevailing problem of blockages would be addressed after the committee’s findings.

The Emir, Alhaji Adamu Abubakar Maje, warned the people of Hadejia against the habit of dumping refuse in water ways which he said is the cause of the present predicament of flooding in the area.

“If you recall it is the same reason that resulted in the recent outbreak of cholera in this area and now because you have not changed your attitude it has also blocked all our water exit points”, he said.

The chairman of the former committee on flood inaugurated last year and who is also a member of the present committee, Engineer Jinjiri Abdulkadir, explained to Peoples Daily that the state government has constituted the committee with a view to proffer a lasting solution to the menace and also to resettle the affected residents.

He said the committee which is chaired by the State Deputy Governor will at the end of its finding report to the governor who would later make approval from its recommendations.

He assured that already a team of technical experts have been deployed to all the affected areas to assess the damages caused by the flood with estimated valued of valuables lost.

Though the disaster has come and gone, but the pains and agonies suffered by the victims have remained despite their effort to forget the past and settle back in their homes for a new life.

This is because since the ugly incident, the victims have not known peace, even when palliative measures were provided to cushion the effect; it has remained a bad experience that would not easily go away because of the loss suffered by the people.

While some victims struggle to forget and settle down, more issues that could trigger tension continue to rear their ugly heads.

The world is aware of the devastation of Nigeria and Nigerians by flood every rainy season.

Many well-meaning persons have since commented on the impact of these flood disasters on Nigerians and Nigeria, particularly, the poor and the less fortunate among our people.

A measure of the extent of human refinement across the world or globally, is often said to be the willingness and the extent in which any society or nation cater for the poor, the underprivileged and the less fortunate.

Amidst the ongoing ravages by floods, and ensuing catastrophes, observers have said there seem to be deliberate efforts to understate the extent and magnitude of devastation by floods, and the avalanches of consequences which will most probably follow.

Too often, we have heard government officials say, there is nothing that can be done. It is the act of God and nature, and it happens everywhere on earth. One prays that the Jigawa case will not be seen as such.a

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