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16 killed as river overflows banks

23 July 2012, 12:05

Plateau -  Sixteen persons were confirmed dead in Gangare and other communities in the Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau when River Rikkos over flew its banks after a heavy downpour on Sunday night.

``So far, we have recovered 16 corpses but many others are still missing,'' the Publicity Secretary of Jama'atul-Nasril- Islam, Faruk Umar.

``Already, we have just buried 14 corpses while two bodies have just been discovered. But we are also still searching for more bodies because many people are still missing.

``More than 200 houses were washed away following the flooding of  Rikkos River,’’ he said, listing the worst-hit areas as Gangare and Ungwan-Rogo.

Umar blamed what he described as the colossal damage on the practice of building houses on waterways and blocking of drainage, calling for a massive drainage evacuation to allow free flow of water.

A NAN correspondent, who went to the burial ground, counted 14 bodies and saw two more bodies being conveyed to the burial ground.

An official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Kazeem Olanrewaju, said that NEMA officials were already taking stock at the scene.

``NEMA has evacuated some of the displaced persons from Dilimi, Ungwan-Rogo and Gangare to a nearby school and we are battling to see how much assistance we can render for now.

``The figure of those affected is rather much and we expect the situation to be tougher with the Ramadan season but we shall do our best to help them,’’ he said.

Mr Edward Maigida, NEMA's Director, Relief and Rehabilitation, said at the College of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Jos where the displaced persons had been assembled that the agency was already carrying out a census of the displaced persons.

``We are conducting a census to ascertain their number and work out immediate intervention before we arrange some more lasting arrangements.

``We are also still assessing the situation around the vicinities and shall do what we can do immediately before getting to the headquarters,’’ he said.

The Public Relations Officer of the Plateau State Police Command, Mr Emmanuel Abu, described the incident as a ``natural disaster,’’ saying however, that he had not received full details of the disaster.

``I will get back to you immediately we have the full details,’’ he said.

The affected settlements are prone to flood disasters with such cases reported every year.



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