From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE,
Abuja President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday visited camps where flood victims are taking refuge in Kogi State, and urged them to endure the temporary discomfort which he said “will soon be over” He visited the victims of the flood at the Dankolo primary school relief camp in Lokoja city after an aerial inspection of the flood areas with Helicopter.
The camp is one of the 86 camps in Kogi State with the victims comprising both young and old, male and female including even new born babies. President Jonathan who was visibly shaken by the condition of the victims in the camp, interacted briefly with them and specially requested to see all new born babies in the camp after which he told them that he personally came to see them to show that his government was concerned about their plight and to show commitment of his government in cushioning the effects of the flood disaster in their lives.
“We are very sad over the national flood disaster in the country, it is a national disaster. We are thinking of how to settle you all back to your places after the floods. Government is doing everything possible to cushion the effects on you. Please endure it will soon be over” he assured. “Though you will bear some pains now , be assured that you have a government that will help you, even if you had borrowed money to cultivate your farms, don’t worry let the flood come down, we know how to help you deal with the situation. I inuagurated a committee today (Thursday) headed by Dangote that will mobilize funds to take of your settlement”, he further assured the victims.
According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), state coordinator, Ishaya Chonoko, said 344 communities in nine local government areas were affected by the flood resulting in 623,900 people being displaced in the state. “The flood really did a lot of havoc in this state, apart from displacing 623,900 people from their homes, 152,575 hectares of farm lands were destroyed by the flood”. Also speaking, the Red Cross coordinator in the camp, Jubril Ebiloma said that it has not been easy managing the victims in the camp. “Our major problem here is that we don’t have adequate accommodation to keep the victims.
They are crammed here in this small school, it is over stretched”. Rehabilitation of roofs of St. Luke’s primary school, Dankolo was on going as at the time the President visited. One of the victims, Dan Musa Mosiji, who said he lost all he had was excited to hear the assurances of resettlement and rehabilitation coming from the President.“I had lost all hope in life, because I lost all that I have in life to this flood and no hope that we may be resettled but with the assurances given today by the president I now have hope” he said.He however complained that they were not having adequate food evenas he commended the State government for its efforts to feed them.