Benue River: State government issues red alert, Agatu, others submerged

Danielle Bem-Sar, Makurdi

River Benue-Niger confluence

The Benue State Emergency Management Agency, (BSEMA) has announced that five communities in Agatu and others in Makurdi have been submerged in water.

The Executive Secretary of SEMA, Mr Emmanuel Shior while speaking to newsmen in Makurdi, and settlements along the banks of River Benue have also been submerged.

Shior, however, said the state government had taken proactive measures and set up a committee made up of SEMA, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Information and other stakeholders to sensitive the Benue people on the impending flood.

He said SEMA in conjunction with National Emergency Management Agency NEMA and other stakeholders were carrying out awareness using TV, Radio, Churches, Mosques other media to urged people to move from the flood areas to safety.

The Executive Secretary pronounced a red alert on River Benue saying the water level had reached 11mm already which is just 1mm away from the 12 mm level that brought in the floods in previous years.

He said the Makurdi International Market which was used last year, had already been opened to house those moving from the flood prone areas in Makurdi, while centres have also been prepared across the state to house those who will be displaced in other local government areas.

The Zonal Coordinator, North Central, for NEMA, Mr Slaku Lugard noted that the federal government had listed 12 states including Benue, as states that would likely be affected by floods

“So we have come with a team trained by NEMA to collaborate with SEMA to assess the situation, check out the available facilities and gaps and report back to the head office for additional resources where needed.”

Slaku said while NEMA, SEMA and other stakeholders were working to ensure prompt actions were taken immediately they received a distress call from any part of the state where people may be trapped, the people must also be willing to cooperate with government to control possible flooding.