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NEMA declares national disaster 

by OtownGist

Over 100 people have died in floods in several Nigerian states following heavy rains that caused the Rivers Niger and Benue to overflow, the National Emergency Management Agency announced Monday.

The emergency body, NEMA, declared national disaster in the affected states of Kogi, Niger, Anambra and Delta.

Eight other states are being monitored, the agency said. They are Taraba Adamawa, Kebbi, Edo, Rivers, Benue, Bayelsa and Kwara states.

”More than 100 people have died in floods,” Sani Datti, the agency’s spokesperson, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.

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”The four states are in very bad condition; the remaining states are being monitored, but if the conditions of the remaining eight states (deteriorate) they would also be declared a national disaster,” Mr Datti said.

Nigeria has faced flooding in recent years, with hundreds killed and thousands displaced.

Details of the huge number of deaths were not immediately clear, but the BBC quoted NEMA as saying 40 people had died in Niger state alone.

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Earlier, the Kano State Government had confirmed the death of 31 people and destruction of more than 10,000 houses during the recent flood disaster in 15 Local Government Areas of the state.

Ali Bashir, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Agency told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Monday that the cost of the disaster was estimated at over N5 billion.

On Friday, the North-west zone of NEMA said 53 lives were lost to flood in both Katsina and Kaduna states.

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Ishaya Chonoko, zonal coordinator of the agency, gave the figures in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna.

According to him, the agency recorded 51 deaths in Katsina State, two in Kaduna State, while 30 persons were confirmed missing in Jibiya, a border town in Katsina state.

The Presidency said on Friday President Muhammadu Buhari had delegated authority to NEMA boss, Mustapha Maihaja, to declare a “national disaster’’ in the event that anticipated flooding turns a reality in parts of the country, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.

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The directive followed a warning by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency that Rivers Benue and Niger had almost reached levels that resulted in flooding in 2012.

President Buhari later approved N3 billion for the first stages of preparedness, response disaster mitigation, the NEMA chief said.

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