Saliu ABUJA (Xinhua) -- A somber mood enveloped
Suleja town located in a busy suburb in Nigeria’s central state
of Niger on Monday, following a devastating flood which wreaked
havoc in the area on Sunday.
Sorrowful tears and gnashing of teeth
freely expressed the feeling of the local residents as they rued
the loss of lives and property to the disaster.
“I’ve lost it all, everything that I
labored for,” thundered a 61-year-old retired civil servant.
The embittered sexagenarian told
Xinhua the house he built after retirement last year, using his
life savings, had collapsed as the flood swept through the area.
“I cannot find my grandchild, too,” he
said amid tears.
Four lifeless bodies had been
recovered since Sunday, according to eyewitnesses. But a local
official said only one has been confirmed dead by the local
district’s emergency office.
More than 10 bodies were still missing
as of the time of filing this report, while an injured victim
was receiving treatment at a local health facility.
Over 100 houses were engulfed by the
flood and a dozen houses were washed away with household effects
floating in the water.
The flood affected mostly people who
built their houses along the riverbank in the area.
The flood, occasioned by torrential
rainfall for many hours on Sunday, also swept away a family of
eight - including two wives and six children of a local trader,
local residents said.
Many residents and traders fled their
homes and shops for safety as the flood sacked the entire area.
In an interface with local district
officials on Monday, the residents, with streams of tears
flowing down their cheeks, rued the tragedy that had befallen
them. The flood had swallowed up most of their houses.
Ironically, those who counted
themselves as “lucky ones” could only gather the remnants of
For most of the victims, there’s no
hope in sight about where next to go.
Simon Ogbu, a 73-year-old victim of
the flood, said his only hope was in the government.
“My entire house and many around me
here are totally collapsed. There is nothing we can do.
“We are still awaiting assistance from
the government,” the septuagenarian said.
Head of Suleja local district
Abdullahi Maje told Xinhua the government was still assessing
the extent of the damage so far caused by the flood.
“As the head of the local government,
I will go back and sit down with my council members to see
where we can render assistance to the community,” Maje
An official of the Niger State
Emergency Management Agency told Xinhua the flooding was caused
by the release of water from a nearby dam.
According to the source, this was done
to avert a more severe tragedy.
Flooding is a common environmental
problem in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.
Six weeks ago, the Nigerian
Meteorological Agency had issued a flood alert in Lagos, other
coastal cities and some states across the West African country.
Lagos, the nation’s economic hub, has
been battling with flooding since last week as a result of
Last Saturday, motorists spent up to
six hours to escape the water-logged roads and expressway in the
highbrow Victoria Island axis of the city.
The heavy floods took over some homes
and offices, forcing some residents and workers to
unceremoniously vacate their premises.
Local police had temporarily closed
some of the roads to human and vehicular movement, due to the
threat of flood.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos
State on Monday said the government was taking immediate steps
to find a holistic solution to the problem of flooding in the
In 2012, more than 363 people were
killed and over 2.1 million others were displaced by floods
A total of 30 out of the country’s 36
states experienced heavy flooding and an estimated 7 million
people were, in total, affected that year, according to the
National Emergency Management Agency.
The 2012 floods were termed as the
worst in the country in more than 40 years.