At least seven lives have so far been lost to flood dissater in different parts of Kwara state in 2022 with Patigi reverine community in Patigi local government area of the state being one of the worst hit.
In the latest flood incidence which occurred in the area last week, at least 1, 300 households with 2, 800 persons were affected in the aftermath of the disaster that had also submerged large hectres of farm land and houses.
Managing Director (MD), Hydroelric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC), Alhaji Abubakar Yelwa, made the disclosure weeken while fielding questions from reporters in Patigi at the flag-off of distribution of N50 million worth of relief materials to victims of flood in Kwara state.
The items procured according to the HYPPADEC included 1,300 matresess, 500 bags of rice, 200 cartons of bathing soap and 250 catons of detergents among others.
The commission had earlier flaged – off its medical outreach in Lafiagi, Edu local government area of the state to provide healthcare services and prevent the likelyhood of epidemic.
Represented by the commission’s director, environment and community development, Mahmud Muhammed, Yelwa warned those leaving in the riverine communities to vacate the place warning that the worst disaster is waiting to happen.
The MD who disclosed that the relief materials were to the tune of “N40 – 50 millionn” , said the federal government might no longer have the resources to continue to provide relief materials to affected persons as a result of the recurring flood disaster in the area due to dwindling resources.
He said HYPPADEC was considering sponsoring a bill to enact a law that will prohibit people from residing certain killometres away from riverine communities to avert recurring losss of lives and properties.
The MD decried the refusal of residents of the reverine areas and victims of previous flood to relocate to IDP camps provided by the federal government.
“That is the big challenge we are having with my people, they continued to turn their deaf ears to flood warnings for decades move out of this zone, they will not heed,” he said.
Asked if lives were lost in the flood ,Yelwa said, “We have received report of five to seven people who have lost their lives in the state.”
The MD who clarified that though no life was lost to the latest flood in Patigi, however, said due to “climage change, the effect of the flood in the community this year is far worst from what we have experienced decades ago” saying 1, 200 households with 2, 800 persons were affected.
He said the essence of the medical outreach was to engage the commission’s medical team to treat infection cases and prevent any likelyhood of epidemic that might break out in the aftermath of the disaster.
A resident of the area Mohammed Kolo who said the damages done by the flood was in hundreds of millions of naira, lamented that the affected persons now have to pay between N1, 500 and N2, 500 per head to fery in a padling cannoe to their homes and villages.
“Even that one is very risky, anything can happen. The cannoes are being operated by individuals who charged between N1,500 to N2,500 per head. If you are alone you will be charged N1,500 but if you are with a machine is N2,500 per head.
‘Depending on its size, the canoe cannot take more than 20 persons and 7-10 machines at a go in oder not to capsized,” he said.
Speaking further, Kolo said, “Most of the people have left their homes, those that are still there hang their wrappers up and sleeep their at night.
“The worst thing is that after the flood some people will not be able to return to their homes because most of the houses have been destroyed.”
Another victim, Mohammed Garba, who said he lost over one hectre of his rice farm to the flood, regretted that they could not relocate to the IDPS’ camp provided by the federal government because their means of livelihood which according to him, is fishing and farming is in the reverine area.
He also said the accommodation provided in the camp was a far cry to the number of people leaving in the riverine community which he estimated to be up to 2,500.