No fewer than 12 persons are feared dead in the flooding that swept through Kaduna, following yesterday’s heavy downpour.
The flood also submerged thousands of homes, rendering thousands homeless.
At press time, scores of persons were still trapped in high rise apartments and trees which many climbed to escape the rampaging flood that clearly overwhelmed Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA.
Meanwhile, the tragedy has become a veritable source of income for canoe men who once took N100 Naira to paddle passengers across river Kaduna, but charged as much as N20,000 per person to rescue anyone holed up in houses by the flood.
The Director-General, SEMA, Mr. Ezekiel Baba-Karik, told newsmen that the flood was of record high in the history of Kaduna State, saying he was going to issue a statement to that effect later today.
He said: “So far, 12 local government areas have been badly flooded. There has never been this type of flood in the state. We shall issue a statement later. Right now, we are inspecting the damage with the state governor,” he said.
In Kaduna metropolis, parts of Barnawa, Tudun-wada, Kigo Road, Gonin Gora, Karatudu and Rafinguza, among others, were submerged.
Densely populated areas as Ramat Road, in Haliru Dantoro, Kabala Costain, Kabala West, Unguwan Dosa, all in Kaduna metropolis were all almost submerged.
Parts of Lere, Kachia, Chikun, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi, Soba and Zaria council areas were said to be affected by the flood.
James Aboki, a resident of Kigo road in Kaduna metropolis, told Vanguard that when the rain started, some residents of the area called on emergency workers but lamented that nobody showed up.
“We made desperate calls around 7am this morning when it was obvious that there was disaster coming but SEMA never even picked our calls. We tried to remove what we can, before the entire place became like a sea,’’ he said.
The home of Vice Pesident Namadi Sambo at Ungwan-Rimi in Kaduna North Local Government Area and Living Faith Church, also known as Winners Chapel in Kaduna South Local Government Area were also ravaged by flood.
But, the former VP’s home is not occupied by anyone since he lost the last general elections.
A light bridge along Aliyu Makama Road, Barnawa, which linked the area to the city centre, was completely submerged in the flood.
Some Kaduna residents who where affected, said canoe men who rescued them, charged exorbitant fees before taking them to safety.
Kabiru Audu, 56, a bank worker who lives at Unguwan Rimi, said: “I discovered I was trapped around 11:am when I dashed home to see what I could salvage from my house.
‘’Before I could get out, I discovered that the flood outside had reach close to my nostril level. I had no choice than to climb the upstairs where others had gathered.
“The boatmen came and started collecting N8,000 per head. Some of us refused to pay. But after an hour, with the situation getting worse, we started paying N20,000 per person. Even at that, there were not enough canoes to take everyone. Some people are still up there.”
Femi Adi of The News magazine, one of the victims of the flood at Kudenda area in Chikun Local Government Area of the state, said his house and other neighbours within the vicinity were submerged.
He said: “Over 50 houses located along the river side were gone. It’s quite unfortunate that we can not help it. We saw our houses taken over by water and we could not do anything.
“I was here at the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ secretariat, Kaduna, doing my story when I was called that flood is gradually taking over the area but by the time I left and got to the house, the damage had been done.
“Unconfirmed sources said that at least 12 people had been killed. Some claimed to have seen corpses floating on the raging current.’’
Though it had stop raining, the water level from the banks of Kaduna river was still rising at the time of filing this report.