When I first heard about the flood that hit Nigeria recently, I figured it was just another torrent of heavy rainfall – like we usually have here in Lagos – but I was wrong. I later learnt that it was a result of Cameroon releasing excess water at the Lagdo dam, which then raced down the Niger River, along its tributaries and flooded many different communities along its banks.
I can't help but wonder why whoever's in charge of the excess water management did such a stupid thing without adequate preparation, but what's done is done, I suppose.
Thousands of people have since been left homeless, with over 10,000 homes remaining submerged underwater and 11,000 people placed in camps in Benue State. To make matters worse, the flooding has allowed crocodiles better access to the land, so they lurk underwater, swimming around what used to be the streets of towns like Makurdi and Agatu. Thousands more people are said to be in camps for the displaced in Delta State and many more are still missing or presumed dead.
A large part of Delta State is still covered in water. My village has three entrance points – two are completely flooded and the third is on its way there, meaning the area is likely to be cut off from immediate help any time within the next few days. The federal government have released around 17 billion naira for states affected, but the Nigerian people are yet to see any of that money being used. The only help they've seen so far has come from individual donations from government officials and charitable Nigerians.
It doesn't help that, instead of devising ways to help, a number of people seem to be more concerned with stealing and making money while the area is in crisis. There are thousands of people out there still looking for shelter – lost children, sick people, starving people – but instead of helping, there are those who seem only able to think about exploiting the situation.
There's currently no sign that the flood will stop. I was told more valves in the dam are yet to be opened, meaning people are expected to keep living in this hellhole for at least the next few months.
Of course, this could have been prevented. People will think it's nature taking its revenge, or that it's God repeating what he did in the time of Noah, and I'm inclined to agree. I believe the floods are a sign that the end of days are coming, so all we can do now is pray for God to have mercy on us.
God bless Nigeria.
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