Flood Victims in sad situation as they sleep on floor and drink from River Niger.

Ekeh  with  displaced children  at  the  Kabawa  Primary  School  Camp  in  Lokoja...on  Thursday.
Fatimah Idris, a 25yr-old mother of three from Edimose, Lokoja, is among the 520 occupants being quartered at the Kabawa Primary School flood camp in the Kogi State capital.
The young woman, who like the others in the camp, has lost virtually all her possessions to the raging flood, has spent the past four days in difficult conditions in the camp.
Idris and her three children sleep on the bare floor in the night without any prevention from mosquito bites in the open classroom now converted to an emergency room.
“We were brought to this place because we have no place to go to,” Idris laments. “We lost our house in the village. The flood has taken over the entire village and we lost everything.
“As you can see, we have nothing left. We want the government to come to our aid. It is true that they are feeding us, but we need more assistance; even when we leave here, we have nowhere to go.”
Her story is similar to those of several others in the camp. Reluctantly, Margaret Ekeh, 65, an Isoko indigene from Delta State who has lived all her life in the riverine community of Natako, Lokoja Local Government, talks about her predicament.
The old woman looked vacantly into the air as she laments the loss of her prized items – her fishing nets – to the floods, which arose from unusually heavy rains and the release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, and the Shiroro, Jebba and Kainji Dam in Nigeria.
“My children and I – three of them – are all here,” she states. “We do fishing; that is our work. We sleep on rice shacks and on the bare floor. I sleep on that rice shack there; others who don’t have anything simply spread their clothes and sleep on it. That is how we sleep.
“We need mattresses and blankets in the rooms to reduce the suffering in this place. We want the government to give us money and used clothes to help us while we are here. We’ve nothing left for us. We cannot go to the river to fish again because the water has taken away all our nets. If government gives us money and provides nets for us, we will go and get fish from the river.”


Saturday PUNCH investigations show that students from humble backgrounds, who got caught in the disaster, have temporarily suspended their academic activities.
Among the students held up in the camp is Ismail Abdul, 28, who is studying business administration in the Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja and Philomena James, 14, from Onumaye village.
Idirs, Ekeh, Abdul, James and the others in the relief camp constitute one large family of people who have lost their happiness, joy, comfort and even their source of livelihood to the raging waters of the River Niger.
Virtually all of them who fought off melancholy to field questions from this reporter. They all had one tale or the other to share. Their demands come in their torrents like the unyielding rains that increase the water level that has replaced their joy with misery and agony. Theirs is one long unending story of lamentations.
Their discomfort, the poor sanitary conditions at the camp, all combine to threaten the humanitarian efforts being given by the operatives of the National Emergency Management Agency, its state counterpart and the men of the International Red Cross.
The combined team of NEMA, SEMA, the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were seen putting up their best to ensure the maintenance of law and order in the camp.
Investigation showed that destitution was fast giving way to desperation and loss of temperament as the victims separated themselves along ethnic lines to spoil for a confrontation at the slightest provocation. Our correspondent saw the police team mediating in a conflict involving some women.
The Head of the Red Cross Team, Mr. Idris Angulu, says that those in charge of the camp had observed that the people are sharply divided along ethnic conflicts.
“You know that it is really difficult to keep them here without issues,” says Angulu. “They are not from the same ethnic group; they are from different places such as Kotonkarufi, Bashan, Ogunma, Agatu, Isoko, Ebira, and others.
“And you know before this unfortunate disaster happened, they used to have ethnic disputes among themselves and because of that they don’t sleep in the same room or eat in the same place.
“So, we have to separate them. For instance, Gande people have issues with Otenerodo; Isoko have issues with Ibira, Agatu and Ibira too and others.”

Although the camp is yearning for urgent attention from the government and public-spirited individuals, it was learnt that security maintenance is adequate. The Search and Rescue Officer of NEMA in charge of the camp, Mr. Timothy Tile, said that a combined team of the police, the NSCDC and the local vigilante in Lokoja was providing security cover for the embattled people.
He said that while NEMA and the Kogi State Government donated some items to the camp which were being distributed to the people. He stated that the DG of NEMA had directed distribution of more items for Friday.
Without doubt, the historical town of Lokoja is a besieged city. A sizeable percentage of buildings in the town, which rightly prides itself as the confluence city, is submerged by the very confluence which has yielded its vast natural resources to the sustenance of the Kogi State capital for years. The wait for normalcy and restoration promises to be very long with the bold indications of rising water level. This is as the roads of Lokoja are playing host to canoes and speedboats with scores of rooftops almost by the destructive flood.
The raging flood has also brought to its knees the highest tourism centre and the most beautiful hotel in Lokoja, the Confluence Beach Hotel. It was learnt that the hotel was the choice hotel to the top businessmen, rich travellers, government officers within and outside Kogi.
The multibillion naira hotel is strategically located to give a clear view of the meeting point between the River Niger and the River Benue. Even though the Federal Government is making a sustained effort to open up an alternative route around the flooded sections of the Abuja-Lokoja Road, the submerged city would have to wait on the compassion of River Niger and maybe Benue, to recover from the current siege.

culled from  http://www.punchng.com/news/victims-drink-from-river-niger-sleep-on-bare-floor/

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