Buhari declares flood a national disaster

FILE: Flood in Makurdi, Benue State led to loss of lives and property
FILE: Flood in Makurdi, Benue State led to loss of lives and property

President Muhammadu Buhari has delegated authority to the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, to declare a “national disaster’’ in the event that anticipated flooding turns a reality in parts of the country.

The President’s directive follows a warning by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency that Rivers Benue and Niger had almost reached levels that resulted in flooding in 2012, which led to loss of lives and destruction of property.

A letter to the Director of General of NEMA titled: “Situation Report on the River Flood Along the Banks of Rivers Benue and Niger’’, which was signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, said:

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“Delegation of authority to the Director General of NEMA to activate the Disaster Response Units of the military for possible search and rescue missions, and

“The procurement and proportionate stocking of relief materials and health related items up to N3billion to provide for the needs of possible victims.’’

The letter also instructed the head of the emergency agency to provide regular updates to the President.

On 12 September, nine people lost their lives while over 200 houses were destroyed and numerous farm lands washed out by flood in Gombe between May and August, an official has said.

Mrs Lamis Benjamin, Deputy Director, Rescue and Rehabilitation, Gombe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), disclosed this to newsmen in Gombe.

Benjamin said four out of the nine deaths were recorded in May following a downpour in Gombe town.

She said the remaining five deaths were recorded in Cham community of Balanga Local Government Area of the state in August also after a downpour.

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