In Kogi State, thousands of people recently ravaged by flood disaster across about nine flood prone local government areas in the state are still facing myriads of challenges.
Nine flood-prone local government areas in the state namely, Lokoja, Kogi/Kotonkarfe, Ibaji, Bassa, Igalamela, Omala, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Idah and Igalamela/Odolu were affected by the disaster.
Over 200 communities were submerged while farmlands and property worth millions of naira were destroyed across the affected areas.
The flooding has also affected academic activities in schools in the areas as the victims are being camped in schools’ classrooms.
Pupils in the affected schools are yet to resume since the end of he holidays in September.
Daily Trust reports that while a number of the displaced persons have began to relocate to their communities gradually following the receding of water, others are still in the camps.
At the LGEA School IDPs Camp in Aniebo Quarters of Lokoja, where victims from Adankolo community of Lokoja are being sheltered, the major challenge facing the people is that of feeding.
The leader of the camp, Baba Aliyu, said they have not been finding it easy since the flood sacked them from the comfort of their homes.
“We have been here for over a month. The government brought some food stuffs to us but since then, we have not got anything again. Life is difficult for us here.
“We need assistance from government for us to relocate as the water is receding. “There is no place like home. Some of our houses have collapsed while some have cracks. We need money or building materials to enable us rebuild our houses”, he said.
Another victim, Ibrahim Isah appealed to the government and philanthropists to come to their aid.
Our correspondent observed that the camp is well organized with security personnel and other officials from the emergency/humanitarian agencies providing needed assistance.
Similarly there is enough water and conveniences for the occupants.
Similarly at the Akpaku camp, Abdulmumuni Abubakar said: “We want government to help us with foodstuff, clinic and drugs so that we can feed and also have access to treatment. Lack of food and drugs will worsen our situation in the camp”.
Ndako Idris from Edeha camp also appealed for urgent assistance: “We need government to help us with bags of sachet water. We are forced to be drinking water from the flooded river since there is no other source of potable water.
“It is the soldiers at the camp that usually assist us with some bags of sachet water which is not enough.
Sekinat Musa, who delivered of a baby boy while at the camp, said her experience was traumatic.
She said she delivered a day after the raging flood sent her packing from her home.
The new mother is, however, happy for safe delivery and appealed for government’s support.
“As you can see, I’m breastfeeding a new baby and I can’t go out now to start looking for what to eat. I want government and well-to-do people to assist me”, she said.
Also Maryam Isiaq, who delivered while at the camp, also appealed for assistance especially in areas of food supply and health facilities.
Meanwhile, with the receding of flood many of the victims especially in Kogi/Kotonkarfe, Igalamela, Bassa and Ibaji, amongst others have began to return home.
One of the victims from Akpaku camp, Abubakar Mohammed, who confirmed this to our reporter, said the people had to return home as the situation in the camp was no longer bearable.
He said they also needed to go back to begin dry season farming as they had already lost everything to the flood disaster.
Abubakar appealed to the government to support them with farm inputs and fishing tools to enable them begin their lives again.
Director General of Media and Publicity to the Kogi State Governor, Kingsley Fanwo said the state government in collaboration with NEMA has been providing succor for the flood victims.
On the issue of resettling the victims, Fanwo said: “The State Government has assured them of further support. We also know they lost a lot of farm produce. Farm inputs will be made available to them too. Efforts are in top gear to accomplish that.”
Speaking on the flood situation in the state, Manager of NEMA’s Emergency Operations Centre in Kogi, Fatima Kasim said a total of 195,375 affected across the nine local government areas have so far been profiled.
She said NEMA had provided non food materials and drugs to the IDPs while the state government provided food materials for the victims.
According to her, NEMA has brought in the first tranche of food materials to the state and would flag off the distribution soon.
She said apart from the IDPs in camps within Lokoja, most of the victims at the camps in the other affected areas were already relocating.
On the issue of resettlement, she said the state government would look into ways it could support the victims to resettle.
“The government needs to carry out more advocacy to areas prone to flooding to move to higher ground. The government in this wise should help them to rebuild their houses.
“I know it will not be easy but the government has to collaborate with private organizations and well-to-do individuals to come to the aid of these people. Their rehabilitation is very very necessary. On the part of the people, I urged them to move away from the flood plains.”