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(Nigeria News) Villagers forced to use boats, homes completely submerged underwater and animals seeking refuge from the encroaching waters are the scenes in Lokoja, a town in Kogi state on the frontline of the flood in Nigeria
UPDATED: 820, 282 people have been displaced across Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Anambra & Kogi states (latest figures released from Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency)
“The flood has taken over more than one-third of the town,” says Emmanuel Idoko, a local businessman. “Some people are cut off from the town entirely.”
Some of the heaviest rains for years, as well as the release of excess water from Cameroon’s Lagdo dam have left hundreds of thousands displaced and unknown numbers of people dead across the country.
“This is the largest, highest flood I have experienced in my life,” says one local villager as he looks out across the water. “The water now is 12.54 metres above water level.”
Local communities are leaving for higher ground and local businesses are reporting a 80% drop in custom. The water supply to the town has been shut-off and electricity supply is, at best, only a few hours a day in areas not affected by the flood but people are relying on their generators.
NEMA has set up 87 IDP camps for Kogi state alone where they say at least 623,690 people in 344 communities have been displaced. In our photos and video the Ibaji Local Government Area is almost completely submerged.
“It is now necessary to call on people living in Ibaji to either move to Idah Local Government Council of the state or to closer communities in Anambra State” warned Muhammad Sani-Sidi, the Director General of NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency)
– the economic cost of the floods has not been counted yet, but a temporary road to Abuja has now been opened –
In a statement by NEMA, Governor Wada of Kogi state is reported to have flown across the flooded area and stated:
“The situation is not only devastating but alarming by the magnitude of damages to the communities as we had just seen from the air.”
But many local communities in Kogi state complain that very little has been done by the government to help protect their livelihoods that are now in danger of being swept away by the floods.
The flood in Nigeria is now spreading to Southern-Eastern states of Amanbra and Imo. NEMA warns the floods will likely continue:
“Prolonged flooding as more water would still be released from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon and Kainji Dam with the intensifying rain.”
Emmanuel Idoko says he is not optimistic the problem will get any better soon: “We’re expecting the flood to be worse than what we are seeing now – it’s rising everyday.”
For more on BattaBox’s extensive coverage on the flood in Nigeria see our news reports from across the country.
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