By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Twenty-five lives were lost to this year’s flood disaster in fifteen of the twenty local government areas of Bauchi State which included Zaki, Dambam, Shira, Gamawa, Darazo, Ningi and Bauchi.
The State Deputy Governor, Senator Baba Salihu Tela made the disclosure while receiving officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Bauchi Wednesday, saying seventeen other persons who sustained various degrees of injuries in the disaster were treated in hospitals.
“In the process of the flooding, we lost about 25 lives and that is quite substantial because you can replace what you lost in terms of properties, but lives …? he queried. We have people who have been injured, about 17 of them, were treated and back to life”.
Senator Baba Tela also put the quantum of destruction in terms of farmlands crops and houses to over N950 million, stressing that these does not include infrastructure, as in the case of Dambam and Ningi for instance, some roads were either washed away or cut-off completely.
The deputy governor similarly put the number of houses destroyed in the flood incidences to over 3, 500 and 2, 190 farmlands, observing that the devastations may eventually subject thousands of farmers and other people into food crisis.
He however commended the foresight of NEMA in recent delivery to Bauchi 220 trailers worth of relief materials consisting of food stuff such as rice, maize, gari, among others, to mitigate the effects of both flood and COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Tela said, “We appreciate the role NEMA played through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, but NEMA need to do a little bit more so that we can be able to mitigate the devastating effects of flood in Bauchi state”.
Senator Baba Tela explained that the state government has distributed substantial part provided it by the agency, as the demand for mitigation keep on increase, adding “We need more support of the federal government to be able to continue what we are doing”.
He expressed concern that the issues of flooding which NEMA enumerated are something that have been a recurrent decimal not only in Bauchi state but in the entire nation.
Speaking earlier, NEMA Director-General, retired Air Vice Marshal Mohammed A. Mohammed said they were on advocacy visit to Bauchi on the 2020 seasonal flood predictions by the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NMA) which indicated that the country will have above normal rainfall this year.
Represented by the agency’s director of liaison services, Bashir Idris Garga, AVM Mohammed noted that Bauchi state was adjudged to be one of the major producer of food crops in the country with citizens largely engaged in farming activities, but regretted that the annual occurrences of flood have continued to threaten these potentials.
He attributed the devastating floods of 2012 and subsequent 2018 which led to the declaration of disaster in many states of the federation to climate change, hence a responsible agency of government like NEMA will be left with no other option than to keep people abreast of these impending dangers.
Retired AVM Mohammed gave the 2020 NMA flood predictions outlook as 102 LGAs in 28 states falling within the highly probable risk states, with 275 LGAs in 36 states falling within the moderately probable risk zones, saying the predicted flood have started to occur in many parts of the country with Bauchi state not an exception.
Mohammed also gave this year’s probable high risk area in Bauchi state as Zaki LGA, while the probable high risk with minimal expectations are Alkaleri, Bauchi, Jama’are, Itas/Gadau, Tafawa Balewa, Shira, Ganjuwa, Kirfi and Bogoro LGAs, with floods already experienced in six LGAs of Dambam, Gamawa, Jama’are, Warji, Darazo, Itas/Gadau, Alkaleri, Shira and Zaki.
AVM Mohammed who sympathized with the people in the flood affected LGAs of the state, called on the state government to further equip Bauchi SEMA which ranked the 3rd of sister agencies in the country, so as to meet the challenges of the millennium.