Over 1,000 families across seven local government areas in Southern Plateau have been rendered homeless as the worst flood witnessed in 50 years raged through for a second day yesterday washing away homesteads, bridges, farmlands and livestock.
The flood was unleashed by three days of torrential rains which fell throughout the weekend and Monday night swelling rivers and streams to overflow on Shendam and Langtang North and South which were worst hit. Mikang, Quan Pan and Wase local governments were also affected.
The Shendam bridge gave way yesterday morning complicating the situation by cutting off access to the affected areas and the link between Plateau State and neighbouring Nasarawa and Taraba States.
The Shendam and Langtang floods also destroyed houses, farms and other valuables.
Among those stranded in Shendam town were NEMA officials, who had visited the town on Monday to distribute relief materials to victims of early floods in Wase, Langtang and Shendam.
“We have lost our main bridge and we are at a loss as to how to handle this matter,” a visibly shaken, Supervisory Councillor in charge of Social Services in Shendam Local Government, Alex Dabo told NAN adding that Shendam residents were worst affected by the development as the bridge was the main link to the market, schools, banks and many other offices located on the outskirts of the town.
NEMA Relief and Rehabilitation Officer for the North-Central, Mr Eugene Nyelong, who was among the stranded officials, told NAN that the agency’s officials were already on ground to ascertain the level of damage to the bridge.
He said “We have to ensure that no casualty is recorded; we are also looking into the possibility of erecting a temporary alternative passage to restore some form of communication. ”
“It is indeed a very bad situation; very devastating, but we shall see what we can do as quickly as possible.”
NEMA spokesman for North-Central, Audu Yohanna, described the development as “very unfortunate”, but expressed relief that no casualty was recorded.
“Nobody was killed, but cars cannot cross to the other side as I speak with you. The residents are just confused.
“What we intend to do is to try to find a way to Langtang through Tunkus and Mikang, while others will move through Lafia in Nasarawa State .”
It will be recalled that Plateau State witnessed similar flood incidents last month in Gangare, Tudun-Osi, Tudun Talakawa and Angwan Rogo settlements in Jos north where scores got drowned.
NIMET has predicted flooding in many states, among them Plateau, and advised stakeholders to be very vigilant.
We’ve never witnessed such flood in 50 years – Lar
Among those who visited affected areas was Senator Victor Lar (Plateau South) who described the incident as unprecedented adding that in his 50 years existence, he had never witnessed such a flood.
He urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to act quickly to avoid a break out of epidemic among displaced people in camps.