Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said over 110, 000 people in 24 communities, including Makurdi, the state capital, were displaced by fl ood in recent months. Executive Secretary of the agency, Boniface Ortese, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi on Wednesday that over 2, 769 households were also aff ected.
He explained that places aff ected included Achusa, Idye, Wurukum Market, Genabe, Industrial Layout, Demekpe, Wadata Market, Katungu, behind the Civil Service Commission, Agboughul-Wadata, among others.
“In Achusa, 200 houses were aff ected with 5,125 persons displaced. In Idye 217 houses were aff ected while 5,200 persons were displaced.
“Also, behind the Civil Service Commission 200 houses were submerged in fl ood and 5,777 persons were displaced.
“At Genabe, 200 houses were aff ected with 5,021 persons displaced, 218 houses around the Wurukum market were aff ected with 1,000 persons displaced, and at Wadata market150 houses were aff ected and 4,300 persons were displaced.
“Similarly, at Industrial Layout, 69 houses were fl ooded and 4,310 persons displaced; Demekpe 111 houses were aff ected while 7,820 persons displaced,’’ the offi cial said.
Ortese further said 137 houses were fl ooded in Katungu with 6,031 persons displaced while at Agboughul-Wadata 201 houses were aff ected and 5,728 persons displaced.
He said government was doing everything within its little resources to assist fl ood victims in the state.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Joseph Utsev, has urged the federal government to include Benue among states to benefi t from the N1.6 billion ecological intervention fund. Utsev said since 2013, the state had not received any ecological assistance from the federal government. According to him, dredging the River Benue will provide a permanent solution to the recurring fl ood in the state.
“Benue government is looking for ways in which River Benue can be dredged; this is because by dredging the river, the water can be accommodated and thus, prevent future overfl ow. Th e ongoing research so far, shows that the preliminary study would cost about N8 billion while the main project would gulp about N300 billion,” he said.
However, a cross-section of Makurdi residents accused the state government of doing little to protect the citizens from fl ood disasters over the years. Th ey said the perennial fl ood disaster was an opportunity for some government offi cials to get free money and relief materials to divert.
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