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Bauchi State Flood Disaster: How Years of Negligence Put Hanafari Communities On The Brink of Collapse

By Buhari Abba and Ali Sabo
Pictures by Salim Sani Shehu

 

Severe flooding has swept through the Hanafari, Lariye, and Kila communities in the Jama’are Local Government Area of Bauchi State, causing extensive damage to their farmlands, domestic animals, residential buildings valued at millions of naira and put their lives in danger.

The disaster, triggered by a heavy downpour that lasted for more than five hours on 7th of June, 2024 marks the first such incident in the area this year, leading to significant infrastructure collapse and loss of properties worth millions of Naira.

The visit by the CITAD Radio team to the affected communities exposed the years of negligence by both previous governments and current administration in the state. The small towns whose only contact with government is during campaigns cried for help and desperately need an urgent intervention.

Speaking to CITAD Radio, the Village Head of Lareyi, Nasiru Ahmed said the flooding has been happening for the past eight years conservatively without any concrete action from the government, and this has leads them to sleep with one eye open during raining season.

Also, Muhammad Sani Liman Lariye, a resident of the same community, reported that the flood has destroyed properties and valuables, leaving affected households homeless and destitute.

“The flood didn’t claim lives, but because it was huge, it displaced households and farmlands in the area. These households have lost all their properties and are left with nothing,” he added.

“We have faced this flooding for over seven years; the flood washed our farms away, and we call on the government to come to our aid.”

Meanwhile, another resident, Usman Muhammad, who is also a victim of the downpour, said the flood took them by surprise, stressing that they never expected it.

“The heavy rain has destroyed my house and my only farm, as well as several other farms and houses in Hanafari and Lariye,” he stated.

Muhammad also highlighted the health impacts, including an increase in malaria cases and school disruptions for their children. He appealed for urgent assistance from relevant authorities.

“The floods have caused health problems and diseases, and our children are unable to attend school due to the flooding.”

Our visit to the District head of Hanafari community, Alhaji Lamido Sabo represented by Yunusa Sarkin Kasuwa, also stressed the need for urgent government intervention both at state and federal governments to rebuild their homes and means for livelyhood. This paper learnt that not less than 100 residents were affected by this floods, a list of victims compiled by the communities’ leaders which our reporter scanned through showed the devastating damage done by the rain in the affected communities.

Flooding is the most prevalent natural disaster in Nigeria, particularly affecting vulnerable communities along riverbanks and floodplains.

The consequences extend beyond the immediate loss of lives and property to include disruptions in agriculture, industrial productivity, infrastructure, socio-economic stability, health, and education. Effective flood forecasting and early warning systems are critical in mitigating these impacts.

The 2024 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), released by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), identifies 148 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across 31 states at high risk of flooding, with an additional 249 LGAs in moderate-risk zones. Bauchi state is listed among the high-risk states that will face floods.

Poor Road Network

Adding to the agony of the communities in the area, is the little or absent of government in most of the surrounding communities visited by this media. The journey from Hanafari to Lariye community which is approximately three kilometres takes someone almost 20 minutes to complete due to the bad road linking the two communities. And this has exacerbate the hardship of the surrounding communities which use “Ox-drawn Carts” mostly as their means of transportation due to poor road access. Lamenting on the poor road in the community, Bello Lareyi said “when the rain started he was at Hanafari and despite several calls by his family members to come to their rescue he couldn’t access the community”. This despite budgeting billions of naira to build flyovers and urban road network by the state government.

Overstretched Health Facility

A pip into the Lariye community is the Primary Health Care which stands at the gate of the community. This media observed that the PHC is overstretched and understaffed. When we interview one of the health workers who chose to remain anonymous, told our reporters that more than 30 settlements in the area with a population of almost 10,000 individuals rally on the PHC as their only source of health care. Due to the lack of essential service staff in the PHC, these communities have to travel several kilometres to access some basic services despite promises by successive government to improve the healthcare services in the state.

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