The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has assisted the Taraba State Government with relief materials to alleviate the sufferings of residents who were affected by flood.
The relief items consisted of food stuffs, cloths and building materials. They are to be distributed in the six affected local government areas namely Karim-Lamido, Lau, Gassol, Wukari, Ibi and Ardo-Kola.
The North Report gathered that the agency had earlier visited the affected areas for an on-the-spot assessment of the level of damage in order to determine the level of Federal Government’s assistance to be rendered.
The Director-General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani Sidi said the materials should be distributed directly to the affected persons by the Operations Office in collaboration with the officials from the Taraba State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
Sidi was represented by the Head of Operations in Gombe, Saidu Ahmed Minin.
The relief materials included 1,800 bags of 25kg rice, 1,500 bags of 25kg maize, 300 bundles of roofing sheets, 1,000 pieces of ceiling board, 100 packets of zinc nails, 1,300 bags of cements, 2,120 bags of 25kg guinea corn and 1,800 bags of 25kg beans.
Other items were 150 mattresses, 150 blankets, 150 mosquito nets, 100 plastic buckets, 50 cartons of Omo detergent; 50 cartons of bathing soap, 200 pieces of wax prints and 200 pieces of guinea brocade. The materials were stored at the agency’s warehouse along Jalingo-Yola Road.
The River Benue that cut across six of the 16 local government areas is one tremendous gift of nature, which most times are a source of tears for the people.
The people use the fertile plains of the Benue for all-seasons cultivation, as water from the river serves the people in terms of irrigation and other domestic purposes. However, when the rainy season peaks, the river banks overflows, wreaking havoc. In 2012 and last year, scores of people were killed by flood while domestic animals and birds, farmlands and many homes were destroyed.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Anthony Jellason received the materials on behalf of Governor Darius Ishaku.
He appreciated NEMA and the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for the assistance.
He revealed that the government had spent N50 million to procure, stockpile and distribute relief materials to those affected by the flood.
The decision, he said, was informed by the seasonal rainfall prediction by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency and alert from the Cameroonian authorities on the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam.
He stated that the magnitude of the incident was overwhelming for the state to bear alone, owing to financial challenges currently confronting it.
“The D-G of NEMA was approached and a letter was written to the President on the plight of the victims and they responded promptly,” he said.
He assured that the materials will be judiciously distributed. He reminded the Federal Government to categorise Taraba in the map of flood vulnerable states in Zone 1(A) because of the long stretch and disastrous effect of River Benue on the state.
The governor solicited the support of all stakeholders in disaster management, urging them to devise measures of preventing or ameliorating negative impacts of flood disaster in the country.
“This can be achieved by heeding to early warning signs,” he said.