Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Zamfara flood affected community seeks assistance to relocate site

Etta Michael Bisong reporting from Gusau with Earth Hour Nigeria #WalktoMali

Gutsura, a local village in Zamfara state northwest, Nigeria affected by the flood that divided most parts of the country has appealed to the government for monetary assistance to enable the habitants build resilience and adaptation strategies to mitigate climate change impact.
Due to the increasing water level of the upper Niger River, the small agricultural dependent community has witness unprecedented flood over the past ten years and continue to threaten the people's primary source of livelihood.

After several attempts to approach the government for assistance to combat this environmental epidemic that threatens the peaceful co-existence of the villagers, ''Only this year that the government accepted and gave us new site,'' the Nasarawa Gutsura, Alhaji Umaru Nasarawa told Blueprint reporter when the #WalktoMali team visited the community to map and assess the flood impact.

''Our immediate need now is accessing fund to move to the new site, because raining seasoning is coming,'' Alhaji Nasarawa lamented.

The village head added that another critical challenge facing the community presently is access to portable drinking water, explaining that every effort using indigenous knowledge to provide water in the area continue to produce no positive result. Water in Gutsura is majorly sourced from traditional wells thereby exposing the people, particularly the children to complicated health diseases such as diarrhea, bacterial dysentery, cholera, typhoid and other contagious illnesses.

According to a study conducted by UNICEF, 2008 on the inimical impacts of contaminated drinking water showed that ''over three million people, mostly children, die annually from water-related diseases.''

Addressing village community and the Earth Hour champions, Tukur Mohammed, a local farmer in Gutsura village acknowledged the people's readiness to relocate to the newly provided site, but blamed lack of fund as the major impediment delaying their relocation.

Tukur, while enumerating the impact said the flood claimed the life of a six year old boy and damaged farm produce worth about nine million naira. In addition, the flood also destroyed homes and prevent members of the community from conceptualising any long-term sustainable development plan.

With no access to electricity, primary health facilities and a single block with only three classrooms, the indigenes of Gutsura community remain vulnerable to climate change impact which can be tackle with the right adaptation strategy.

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