The indigenes of Ibaji Local Government Area (LGA) of Kogi, under the aegis of Ibaji Unity Forum (IUF) have appealed to the Federal and State Governments for urgent intervention to ameliorate the suffering of the flood victims in the area.
The President of IUF, Mr Stephen Uchola, made the appeal after he led officials of the organisation to visit some affected communities in Ibaji on Tuesday.
Uchola urged the Federal and Kogi Governments to urgently take necessary steps to rescue thousands of people trapped in different communities in the area due to the ravaging flood disaster.
He claimed that since the outbreak of the devastating flood that submerged the entire local government and rendered the residents homeless, there had not been any assistance from the government and its agencies for the victims.
Uchola said that many of the victims were in danger of losing their lives as they were sick without drugs, food and shelter.
He added that many had remained trapped in their communities as all the roads in the local government had been taken over by the flooding.
“What we saw at the various places we visited necessitated this urgent call on the various arms of government, non-governmental organisations, philanthropists and donor agencies to come to the aid of the victims.
”They have lost everything to the flood and are battling to survive the disaster.
“We visited some communities on Monday and Tuesday and will continue on Wednesday to cover the entire 10 wards in Ibaji LGA.
“The 10 wards – Onyedega, Iyano, Ujeh, Ayah, Ojila, Odeke, Akpanyo, Unale, Ejule and Analo have been devastated by flood.
”Dangerous reptiles have taken over the flooded houses and six deaths have been reported so far,” he said.
The IUF president noted that in Aniocha in Ojila Ward, a 3-year-old child fell into the river and died, adding that the casualty figure was low because many of the people could swim.
He said that thousands of people in the area, including children, are sick, stranded and eager to leave the area but could not because the volunteers using wooden boats to evacuate them could not do much.
”Having lost their source of livelihood, they are now helpless and praying for relief assistance, especially food, drugs, clothing and shelter.
”If these are not provided urgently, from what we experienced, many will not survive this harsh condition.
“Unfortunately, those already evacuated to Idah town and some neighbouring states are also suffering and are finding it difficult to cope, with some of them wearing one dress since they were rescued.
”Many of them have no place to sleep; their condition is very pathetic and they are crying for help,” Uchola said.
He called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Kogi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), to urgently intervene and evacuate the victims to safe places and provide much-needed support to the local government.
“We are sending this Save-Our-Soul message to President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Yahaya Bello as well as NEMA to come to the rescue of our people.
”These people cannot help themselves under the present circumstances and their survival now depends on support from the government and donors,” he said.