Overflowing Banks of the Benue River
By George Okoh in Lafia
The National Commission on Refugees, yesterday donated medical and relief materials to settlements in Umaisha, a town in Toto Local Government Area where thousands of persons displaced by the overflowing banks of the Benue River, have been camping for close to a week.
Acting Chief Executive of the commission, Mr. Wuese Al, along with Mrs. Ovordo Abdullahi, Head of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), as well as other officers of the commission, also took a tour of the banks of the over-flown river, to assess the extent of devastation on the communities.
For most of the parts visited, only roofs of buildings, showing that settlements once existed there, could be sited from a far, in what compelled the commission’s officers to express surprise at the extent of the devastation, as well as the hardship it has visited on the displaced persons.
The commission also followed up, reaching Toto local government authorities to get a record of the displaced persons.
Mr. Al, who handed the reliefs which arrived the town in three vans, told the local distribution committee that women and children must be given uppermost consideration, just as he insisted that the principles of accountability and transparency must guide the distribution.
Some of the displaced persons spoken to at the camp said their settlements are completely lost under water, and can only be traced after the flooded waters recede.
The surging Benue River had submerged not less than 25 communities along its bank in Toto Local Government Area, and Loko Development Area, displacing an estimated number of over 8,000 persons who have also lost their livelihood. The disaster has also killed many.
In Toto alone, the local committee for distribution of refugees presented over 19 communities including Ogbere, Igi, Aginyizi-Todo, Ozi-Tondo, Ilesenyi-Tono, Ihankpe, Keita, Iledenyi, Arkaji, Igwa, Dausu, Gbagirgo, Kanaworo, Ilenokwo, Angura, Keita-Beiki, Kwatan-Umaisha, Adaigba and