The FCT Administration has called on the residents to be very alert to possibilities of flood as the rainy season enters its peak in the coming months. It also reiterated its constant call on residents to avoid illegal developments as well as dumping of refuse on water rights-of-way.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa made this appeal when he visited to commiserate with people of Karshi over the recent flood disaster that occurred in their community in the early hours of last Saturday night. He also conveyed his condolences to the families of the two from neighbouring Kokosu Community of Nasarawa State who were confirmed dead in the flood.
The Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, currently acting for the Minister, also used the occasion to ascertain the extent of damage caused by the flood. This, according to him, was with a view to stemming future occurrences of an incident, the scale and nature of which, according to residents, have never been witnessed in the area before.
“I have directed that our team of engineers should be dispatched to study the situation with a view to stemming future occurrence. From all indications this is a natural disaster. I am happy that our team is on ground for the search and rescue operations.”
Also speaking to newsmen, the Chief of Karshi, Alh. Ismaila Mohammed dispelled insinuations that the incident was caused by a burst dam, saying “the dam is still intact and still under construction. I thank the FCT Minister for his quick response in dispatching the FEMA team who have worked with local inhabitants since last night, to retrieve the bodies of the victims.”
According to the Chief, “this kind of flood has never been witnessed in this community. Weather has been very erratic. We, in the community would embark on measures to ensure that the roads are safeguarded during heavy rains until a permanent solution is found.”
Ambrose Umelelle 26 and Esther Aka 20, residents of the neighbouring Kokosu Community of neighbouring Nasarawa State lost their lives in the incident. These two were among the four whose vehicle was carried away by the flood. One of the passengers was however lucky as he was reported to have jumped out of the vehicle thus saving his life. The remaining other passenger is still being searched for by the Search and Rescue team of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Briefing the Minister on the incident, the Acting Deputy Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, Florence Wenegieme (Mrs) indicated that upon receiving the information, last night, the Agency immediately arrived the location of the incident and swung into action. The efforts yielded results when they recovered the bodies of the two dead early this morning, as well as the Toyota Siena, Space-wagon in which they were travelling.
He said, “we have gone as far as three kilometres into the waterway without seeing the body, the search continues.”
Mrs. Wenegieme also reported that the river bisecting the community and neighbouring Nasarawa State had risen above its banks on account of massive rains and consequent flood from the neighbouring hills overwhelming the box culverts and overflowing the roads. Many of the road users had been forced to wait on the banks of the flood when the driver of the Siena wanted to try his luck.