Gombe, Nigeria – The Gombe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has confirmed the widespread devastation caused by floods between May and October 2023. In an interactive session with reporters on Thursday, Abdullahi Abdullahi, the Executive Secretary of SEMA, revealed that the disaster had claimed seven animal lives and left 1,838 houses and 257 farmlands in ruins.
Contrary to the 2023 Flood Outlook’s prediction of three affected local government areas (LGAs), the disaster struck eight out of the 11 LGAs in the state. The worst-hit areas were identified as Akko, Funakaye, Balanga, Gombe, Nafada, Kaltungo, Shongom, and Yamaltu/Deba.
The havoc wreaked by heavy rains and strong windstorms not only caused significant damage to farmlands but also left farmers in affected communities grappling with the aftermath. In response to the crisis, the government swiftly distributed relief materials to alleviate the suffering of the disaster victims.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya has approved relief materials for some affected communities, and efforts are underway to extend support to the remaining areas, according to Abdullahi. The state government is actively working to broaden the range of support services provided to all affected communities.
Abdullahi disclosed that the organization had reached out to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to expedite assistance for those affected. Despite the significant destruction, he highlighted a decrease in the loss of lives, attributing this to successful awareness campaigns initiated upon receiving flood alerts from NiMet and NASA.
“Governor Yahaya directed massive sensitization as well as activation of emergency response to mitigate the impact of the disaster. This helped in creating awareness amongst residents of the state,” said Abdullahi.
Commending the state government for its prompt response and support for flood victims, Abdullahi appealed to those yet to receive assistance to exercise patience, assuring them that efforts are ongoing to reach out to all affected communities as soon as relief materials become available.