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Flooding in Central Nigeria Kills at Least 35

  • Anne Look

DAKAR — Rescue workers in central Nigeria continue to search for survivors of flooding that has killed at least 35 people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Rescue workers say dozens of residents are missing after a flash flood early Monday left hundreds homeless and at least 35 dead in the central Nigerian city of Jos.

The flood waters are receding, but residents said the tragedy is far from over. Families searched their homes for salvageable belongings on Tuesday, while others mourned the loss of loved ones.

Abdullhamid Useni lost seven of his children. He says the family was sleeping when the flood waters came. He says they tried, but could not get everyone out. He says he has recovered six of the children's bodies, but the house collapsed Monday before he could reach the last one. The family is hungry, he says, and needs food.

He was visibly shaken when he spoke to VOA, but said he must take care of the surviving members of his family before he can mourn his lost children.

Hours of heavy rainfall Sunday in and around Jos caused the Lambingo Dam to overflow. Some residents in apartments or homes on higher ground said they yelled out warnings, but had to flee to avoid being trapped.

Volunteer rescue worker Guda Usman Ali says they saw women and children crying for help, but could not reach them because the flood waters were too strong and too high. He says it was dark and they had only flashlights to see.

Alhaji Abubakar Mahmud, a community leader in the Tudun Rikkos area of Jos, said they have recovered 14 bodies, but are still searching for 25 missing residents. He says 50 houses were destroyed, and the survivors need relief materials like food and mattresses.

Some of the now homeless families are staying with relatives or neighbors. Hundreds have been sleeping on the ground at a nearby camp site area in Jos. The government is distributing food and blankets, while local residents have been bringing food for the children.

Deadly flooding caused by heavy seasonal rainfall is a recurrent problem in Nigeria. Last year, floods killed at least 120 people in southwestern Nigeria and displaced thousands.

Zainab Babaji in Jos contributed to this story.
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