Waiting for another flood to wash away another N2.6 trillion?

By Rickson Fukoti Ethan

Many lowland communities located in Nigeria’s River Benue basin live in absolute dread of the month of September. Depending on the mood of officials in charge of the Lagdo Dam in Garoua, northern Cameroon, entire towns and villages in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger states, and going all the way to the Niger Delta, could be washed away by floods that typically leave the landscape looking apocalyptic. When the flood comes, it usually lasts only a few weeks, but leaves long-term devastation in its wake as it sweeps away human lives, homes, property and livelihoods!

While relatively less flooding was experienced in the usual areas last year, same cannot be said of 2012 when floods displaced about 2.3 million people; killed 363 persons and destroyed about 597,476 houses in 30 states, according to official figures from the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). In fact, post-disaster assessment surveys put the estimated total value of damages and losses to the flood at about 2.6 trillion Naira or US$16.9 billion! In a broadcast to the nation, the then President Goodluck Jonathan unveiled a relief package of N17.6 billion. The Federal Government also received about N2.5billion (US$12.8 million) from donors (individuals and organizations) as part of the flood relief fund. The total was a whooping N2.6 trillion!

READ OPINION PIECE: http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/environment/waiting-for-another-flood-...

Ethan is a 200-level student of Mass Communication, Taraba State University.