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    HomeClimate ChangeEXCLUSIVE: Jigawa communities rebuild houses destroyed by flood despite relocation warnings

    EXCLUSIVE: Jigawa communities rebuild houses destroyed by flood despite relocation warnings

    By Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu

    Residents of Hadejia and Auyo Local Government Areas of Jigawa State are currently rebuilding their houses that were submerged by flood disaster last year.

    This is coming as the relevant stakeholders in disaster management predicted possible reoccurrence of flood disaster in the state and other places in this year’s rainy season. The flooding incident last year not only submerged the communities, but washed away crops leaving behind debris in many farms in the area.

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    Despite the prediction and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) call on residents of flood-prone communities to relocate to higher ground before the start of the flood season, the Jigawa communities, particularly those near the Hadejia Dam, seem to disregard the advice due to what they called “lack of alternatives”.

    Many people were sighted by Agro Climate News busy with sand and mud, amidst scorching sun as they cannot afford to hire laborers.

    A view of one of the communities ravaged by flood. Photo Credit: Agro Climate News

    A resident of the area, Malam Yahaya Lawan of Gudito village in Auyo local council, told our reporter that he had no option than to rebuild the house because his families were sleeping outside.

    “Members of my family are sleeping outside and many of my children are females. My wives had to squad in our neighborhood while I stayed here. We have been in this situation for over 10 months. That is why I decided to rebuild the house with thatch walls.”

    Malam Lawan Yahaya mixing sand with his child. Photo Credit: Agro Climate News

    Malam Lawan is one out of thousands of people displaced by last year’s devastating flood in the state. Tenths of villages were sacked and hundreds of farm lands destroyed, exposing the residents into a severe hunger and food insecurity.

    Agro Climate News gathered that Hadejia and Auyo are the most affected local governments in the state as they are neighboring the popular Hadejia Dam. Some villages in the area had to relocate to places like Ganuwar Kuka, Aimun, Maskangari, Gudito, Ciromawa, Shawara and Waýar.

    The ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said that Jigawa was the most affected state by the flood disaster that ravaged parts of Nigeria in the year 2022.

    Similarly, the state government in its report said the flood killed 134 persons while property worth over N1.5 trillion had been lost to the disaster in the state.

    The report disclosed that the flood affected 272,189 people while 76,887 lost their houses, adding that some villages were completely destroyed and a local government totally cut away from other communities in the state.

    It was gathered that despite being familiar with the recurring floods in the state, the magnitude of destruction witnessed in last year’s flood shocked the state and evoked feelings of anxiety and sorrow among residents. They said between mid-August and September 2022, the state faced one of the most devastating floods it had experienced in years.

    “Last year’s flood will never escape our memory. We have never witnessed a disaster like that. Our village was destroyed. We had to relocate to a place where we slept on bare sand with a lot of mosquitoes biting us. That time we were not after our belongings.

    “We were evacuated using a canoe and all of us were crying. My father could not even move as he has been sick for over a decade, we had to carry him. As confused as we were then, some of us even forgot their children,” an aged woman of Maskan Gari village, Malama Mari Maigari said.

    Malama Mari Maigari, Maskangari. Photo Credit: Agro Climate News

    When Agro Climate News visited some villages neighboring the dam, residents were sighted rebuilding their houses by using thatch walls as they don’t have money to afford the mud buildings. The returnees said they switched to thatch so that if the flood comes, the damage would be minimized.

    Abdullahi Salihu, a resident of Aimun village, who should have been married by now, said the ceremony was postponed as the flood washed away his newly built home meant for accommodating the bride.

    “I completed my house when the flood came and washed away everything. It was three weeks to my wedding, but now it has been postponed indefinitely because I don’t have the means to build another house,” he said.

    Abdullahi Salihu whose house was destroyed few days to his wedding. Phot Credit: Agro Climate News

    Speaking on their efforts to avert the flooding, the village head of Gudito, Ali Maigari said they spent a lot of money in an attempt to prevent water from taking over their village but to no avail.

    He said, “We raised N1 million last year and built an embankment that surrounded the whole village. But the water had to cross and forced us to leave the village. We should have used the money somewhere else. For this year, we don’t even have the resources to do that again, the government has to come in.”

    The village head added that although some people were saying support was given to them, residents of the community did not receive a penny from anybody.

    Efforts to reach authorities for comment on the disaster were not successful, however, the state Governor, Alhaji Umar Namadi in a recent visit to the Vice President, Kashim Shettima said the state government had dredged the Hadejia Dam as one of the measures adopted to prevent the flood.

    The governor said the state government had been implementing recommendations of a technical committee of experts set up to tackle the perennial flood

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