In this piece, YAHYA SARKI (Kebbi) writes about effects of the destruction caused by heavy wind and rainfall on households and environment in some local government areas in Kebbi State, and how state and federal governments can intervene
Kebbi State is one of those states in Nigeria that have been witnessing heavy rainfall resulting in flooding, which is sometimes accompanied with windstorm due to climate change and man made factors such as dumping of waste on water ways and other activities that damage the environment.
The state, in previous years, has witnessed unprecedented flood disasters. Just recently, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), under Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has listed Kebbi State and its environs as within the High Probable Flood Risk Area.
Going by the records, Kebbi State, which is largely a farming community, has witnessed flooding in previous years, which occurred as a result of heavy downpour and is sometimes accompanied by strong winds which lead to destruction of houses, farmlands, properties and even loss of precious lives of livestock and human beings.
Although, the coming of rainfall is seen as a good omen and welcomed by communities especially farming communities, alas, for the farming community of Shiko village of Dandi Local Government Area of Kebbi State when it rained on Monday evening, specifically on July 1st this year, the people of Shiko village, located over 80 kilometers away from the state capital, Birnin Kebbi, observed with excitement as the skies, clouds gathered for the rains to fall on their farmlands which were already dry.
Little did they know that the heavy rainstorm would be accompanied by strong winds.
Residents in the village said it started gently throughout the day before it gradually turned wild in the night with heavy downpour and strong wind like a hurricane. The wind blew up their houses, the heavy rainstorm flooded their houses pulling down any wall or barricade on its way. It was in the morning of Tuesday when the rain had stopped that they realised many residents were victims of the disaster as the rainstorm had destroyed over 40 houses, a junior secondary school and the village dispensary.
Although no life was lost, many of the residents and their families became displaced and had to relocate to seek for shelter from their relatives and neighbours who were lucky to survive the disaster.
One of the displaced victims, Attahiru Musa Shiko, a family man of two wives and 12 children, explained that the incident has left him and his family helpless as his house was blown up by the strong wing and his properties, food items washed away. It was a terrible experience he said.
“Yes, it was really terrible when the wind and rain suddenly roared, my children and my wives were scared and crying through out as the roof top of our three bedroom house was completely gone. We became soaked in the rains with nowhere to go.
“As I am speaking to you now, we don’t have any where to sleep, it was my neighbour that accommodated my families and me. It was a combination of the rainfall and the winds around 3am in the morning.
However, I give thanks to God that my family members are all safe, none of them is harmed but it was really a nasty experience for my entire family, especially the kids and me. We have no shelter and our foodstuff were affected by the rainfall”, he said. The victim made a passionate appeal to Kebbi State government for assistance, “Oh God,
please I want to make an appeal to the government of Kebbi State to come to our aid in view of the calamity that befell us. We know that our governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, is compassionate, we beg for his assistance as we have no place to go”, he pleaded.
Another victim, Ibrahim Noma, a family man of three wives and 15 children, also narrated to LEADERSHIP Sunday his nasty experience during the rainstorm.
“The storm started in the evening and raged all through the night, I was on the farm when it started but I managed to quickly return home.
“Looking at how the strong wind was blowing, I sensed that it would not spare my house, but there was nothing any one could do. We became helpless when the wind blew our house away, while we were inside with the children and their mothers. My aged mother was also staying with me in the house. My house was damaged by the storm including my foodstuffs”.
He described their present condition of living as pathetic in view of their homeless status.
“You can see we don’t have a home any more, we don’t have a place to sleep”, he lamented. Noma also called on the government to come to their aid with whatever is available.
The village head of Shiko, Yahaya Ibrahim (Gudaregen Shiko), while counting the loss of his people in terms of destruction of houses and properties, did not waste time in appealing to both the Kebbi State government and the federal government to come to their aid. According to him, apart from the destruction of houses, even trees in the area were not spared by the strong wind and rainfall.
“Well, what actually happened was the will of God and nobody can say why. As a result of the violent storm, many residents were displaced from their homes. I can say a little above 40 households were affected. Many people have since left the wreckage of their houses and taken refuge with their relatives and neighbours. My people are in a state of worry because of the situation in which they have found themselves. The only thing left for me to do now is to beg all the authorities concerned to come to our aid.
“I am appealing to both the governor and even good spirited individuals to please come and assist my people,” he pleaded.
The council chairman of Dandi local government area, Alhaji Garba Salihu, confirmed the incident.
He said as soon as he received report of the disaster, he rushed to the area to see the extent of the damage caused by the storm.
“Immediately I received the report, I rushed to the area to see what happened and commiserate with the victims.
“It was a sad scene because family members and over 40 households were displaced by the heavy rain, even the roofing of the village secondary school in the area was gone”, he lamented.
The council chairman further explained that his council assisted the victims with some cash and immediately compiled the list of the affected victims and sent to the state government for assistance through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
He appealed to the Kebbi State governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, to come to the aid of the victims in order to alleviate their sufferings.
When contacted on the matter, the executive secretary of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Alhaji Abbas Rabiu Kamba, confirmed the disaster incident at Shiko village of Dandi local government area. He said when the incident occurred, the Dandi local government reported to the agency on the matter and an assessment team was dispatched to the village.
Kamba also said the agency has received fresh reports of flood disasters in Gwandu and Maiyama where over 200 houses were destroyed and from Bunza, where over 30 houses were affected by the floods while the ones in Birnin Kebbi were yet to be compiled.
“Yes, apart from the destruction of over 40 houses in Shiko village of Dandi local government area, we have received reports from Gwandu, Maiyama where over 200 houses were destroyed, 30 houses in Bunza also faced same fate, while that of Birnin Kebbi is being compiled.
The agency has directed local government areas where the flood occurred to liaise with community leaders to further ascertain areas affected”, he explained.
It has been predicted by Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) in 2019 that five local government areas namely Dandi, Kalgo, Koko, Besse and Suru local government areas in Kebbi State are among the list of highly probable flood risk areas while nine other local government areas, which include, Aliero, Ngaski, Bunza, Birnin Kebbi, Bagudu, Augie, Argungu, Yauri and Shanga local governments in the state fall among the list of less probable flood risk local government areas in Kebbi.
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