Tony Osauzo, Benin
Over 2,000 persons have been rendered homeless by flood in six communities in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
The affected communities include Okpekpe, Ebelle, Ukhomedokhai, Amugbe and Ekpeli.
Besides, no fewer than 20,000 hectares of farmland and 20 houses have been reportedly submerged by flood occasioned by rain which lasted for several hours between Wednesday and Thursday last week.
Access to the affected communities has been made difficult as roads leading to the communities have also been washed off.
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Meanwhile, some of the flood victims have appealed for assistance from relevant government agencies.
Speaking to journalists during an assessment of the incident by the Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Council, Mr. Aremiyau Aligamhe, one of the victims, Tony Enike, a farmer, said his 10 hectares of yam and cassava farm was affected by the flood.
“I’m confused and do not know what to do as I speak with you. I just want help to come to us as fast as possible, because we are suffering,” he said. On his part, David Omozufo, who lost his building to the flood, said: “Only few days ago, I was a landlord, but now homeless. I really do not know where to start from.”
Also, the Chairman, Mr Aligamhe appealed for immediate assistan ce to the affected communities and the people and noted that with the level of destruction caused by the flood, there was little or nothing the council could do to ameliorate the suffering of the persons affected.
“I share in your pains at this particular time of natural disaster. The council has made representations to the State government to see how respite could come to the affected people and communities,” he said.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor in the area, Mr Sixtus Omokhagbor, assured the victims that all would be done to take care of them.
Meanwhile, the Edo State government has urged people living in riverine communities that are prone to flooding to move upland and take refuge in safe havens that have been created in local government areas in the state.
In a statement issued in Benin City, the Special Adviser to the Governor, on Special Duties, Yakubu Gowon, noted that, “the alarm became necessary following days of persistent rainfall, coupled with the opening of dams by neighbouring countries.”
He recalled that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMeT) had warned of high floods in some identified states across the country, including Edo, that the River Niger was fast over-flowing its bank and urged people living in riverine communities to move upland.