Flood Submerges Abuja, Kills Three, Five Missing


Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja and George Okoh in Makurdi

Floods saturday submerged some parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, thereby resulting in the loss of three lives while five members of the same family are still missing.

The disaster, which was caused by midnight downpour, also devastated scores of houses and displaced many residents.

The rain, which started at about 2:00 a.m., poured for hours Saturday morning, leading to the overflowing of riverbanks that affected several communities.

Consequently, findings revealed that the worst affected areas were Zuba, Dei- Dei, Giri, Angwan Tiv, Dawaki, Abattoir and Angwan Dodo of the FCT.

THISDAY checks also revealed that the rain swept off several cars and in addition damaged a bridge linking Ikwa, Yimi and other villages inside Zuba.

With the collapse of the bridge, according to residents, the situation forced several commuters and residents to explore other alternative ways of commuting as other roads became inaccessible.

Residents, also, claimed that three persons were reported dead in Zuba, Gwagwalada Area Council after the rain submerged buildings said to be built along the waterways.

Apart from the fatalities, residents of the affected communities told THISDAY that a family of five was also suspected drowned in the flood at Giri.

Residents affected by the deluge were making frantic efforts to salvage some of their property and domestic items destroyed by the rain as well as trying to account for their family members and neighbours.

The Director General FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Idriss Abbas, painted a grisly account of the humanitarian tragedy brought about by the flooding, when he led rescue operators on tour of the affected areas yesterday.

Abbas said rescuers had recovered a lifeless body of a missing family member, noting that they were still searching for the four other members.

He added that FEMA “rescued six people who were subsequently taken to hospital for medical care. There was a building that collapsed in Dawaki as a result of the flood.

“Gwagwalada is flooded from Giri. A family of five were swept by flood at Giri. We got one body and are still searching for four. We rescued six people and are in the hospital.

“The flood damaged a lot of houses and property especially at Gwagwalada. The residents are still saying some are missing but they cannot give us the identities of such persons who they claim to be missing,” Abbass said.

The director-general, therefore, urged residents “to be wary when it is raining by not driving on water and should not build on the flood plain.

”They must respect the master plan of FCT and ensure that all drainages are clean. What happened in Giri-Gota was because people built on flood plains.”

Like the case of Abuja, Makurdi, the Benue State capital was yesterday devastated by torrential rainfall leading to flooding of many areas.

The heavy downpour, which started from 11:00 pm on Friday to 3:00 pm on Saturday, caused the flooding of several houses in the metropolis.

Some of the worst-hit areas include Living Faith Church on Naka Road, Assembly of God Secondary School on Naka Road, Jerome Hwande Street, Ankpa Quarters Extension, Ankpa Ward by Demekpe, behind the Customary Court of Appeal, opposite First Gate, Benue State University, Gboko Road, and the Federal University of Agriculture Road, North-Bank, Makurdi, behind Modern Market.

Other areas affected are Kighir settlement along Naka Road, Wurukum Market, Wurukum, Logo 1 Akpehe Village, Ide Village, opposite Zone 4, Police Headquarters and Kasho Village, along Otukpo-Makurdi Highway, as well as BIPC Estate and its extension, Yiman Layout, Makurdi.

A resident of Achusa, Mr Terfa James said that the rains sacked his entire family from their home, saying that they are now taking refuge at a neighbour’s whose abode was less flooded.

He appealed to government at all levels, as well as good-spirited individuals and corporate organisations to come to the aid of those affected

Another victim, Mr John Nyiman decried the wanton destruction caused by the rain.He said several items in his house were destroyed

‘I don’t know how to move my things out of this water; the rain is heavy and it came at a time we are sleeping.’

Meanwhile, the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, has said that dredging remained the only solution to Benue flooding, even as he called on National Assembly members from the state to liaise and impress on the Federal Government to hasten the dredging of the River Benue.

The Governor warned against building on watery channels, saying that the government would soon begin a clampdown on people building in such areas.

He disclosed that the government is providing alternative abodes to relocate affected victims pending when the flood would subside.