Africa

Caribbean called to support SOAD Food assistance to Flood Victims of Kaduna, Nigeria

#TheCaribbean, September 18, 2020 – An overflowing Kaduna River has again dealt a harsh blow to the villagers, which live along its banks.  At least four were killed and 15,000 people displaced following the deluge which fell for hours on August 10. And the rains came again, with intensity at the start of September.

Flooding September 3, Kaduna north. Photo from the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency

The report of the devastation in this North West territory of Nigeria has resonated with Pan Africanists around the world and has activated the State of the African Diaspora, SOAD that is mobilising immediate and long term help.

“The gesture is molded as the normal distress assistance offered all over the world. To this end we have decided to carry this out under SOAD’s Food Security Program. The efforts of the forerunners of this program, especially those of Nina Womack and brother, Melvin Brown motivated this new effort,” said Tijjani Zubairu Onuvajor, an educator and engineer.

Caribbean citizens know and appreciate their connection to the countries which comprise Africa.  In recent months, Caribbean citizens have also been electrified and awakened by the Black Lives Matter movement which has rocked the planet and re-exposed to new generations, the disparaging treatment of black people.  A bi-product of the BLM protests is heightened sensitivity and renewed interest in Africa, and her people. 

Photo from Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency; two women observe the damages of September 3 flooding

Deandrea Hamilton, a Caribbean region journalist is the SOAD MP for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.  Ms. Hamilton says, “Caribbean people understand what it means to have a natural disaster move in and overwhelmingly turn your world upside down.  The gravity of the loss of the flood victims at Kaduna River can become an opportunity for Caribbean residents to build bridges back to the ‘Motherland’ by being our brothers’ keeper.  It is just a question of whether or not the millions of African descendants who populate the islands of the Caribbean are ready, willing and able to support welfare initiatives like the SOAD Food Security program.”

The goal is to provide a month’s supply of food and toiletries, which SOAD Food Security Program managers explain will buy these otherwise enterprising villagers some time, giving them a good chance to get back on their feet quickly.

On a normal day, like any other community, the people are usually up and about fending for themselves in their personal businesses ranging from small to large-scale types.

Flooding of Kaduna, August 10. Six people were rescued, four others died. Photo by Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency

Appointed Ambassadors in countries and cities around the world represent SOAD.  In Nigeria, Bldr. Tijjani Zubairu Onuvajor, who is a SOAD MP, will manage the distribution.

“It is our desire to show to the victims that people of the diaspora care about them. It is the focus of SOAD Food Security program to achieve the following objectives:

  • Assist the needy with immediate essentials to cushion the effect of the flood
  • To prepare for both medium and long-term assistance of communities that suffers such fate in Nigeria and its environs.
  • To introduce SOAD as a provider of alternative help or solutions to people’s problems in our communities Thereby paving ways for more extensive engagements to improve the quality of life of our people.

Putting this gesture into context it is right to explain that the floods are a part of life in Kaduna, which is the capital of Kaduna State.”

Nigerian Red Cross joins the assessment effort of the recent flooding along the Kaduna River. Photo by the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency

There is a robust existence for the 1.3 million people who call the capital home.  It is a center for learning which is cradle to the Kaduna State University, the Nigerian Defense Academy, the Kaduna Business School, the Institute of Ophthalmology and the National Board for Islamic and National Studies.

The families impacted by the flooding are mainly traders and farmers, as Kaduna is also an agriculture and transportation gateway to the Northern region of the country.

Melvin Brown reports on SOAD Food Security program, which is moving into its eighth month. So far, 2,702 people were fed by SOAD.

The government, as a matter of responsibility, does issue flood alert warnings. In this particular case it had been issued by the Kaduna Emergency Disaster Management Agency; it called for the residents to evacuate the area.  News agencies reported however, that many did not leave because of apathy or largely because they underestimated the enormity of the devastation.

Senator Uba Sani, representative for Kaduna Central (APC) had ordered an assessment of the district, which listed Abubakar Kigo road in Kaduna North; Barnawa in Kaduna South; Karatudu, Romi, Narayi and Sabon Tasha in Chikun as the areas worse hit.

SOAD will raise, $10,000 USD; which will bring immediate relief to the thousands hardest hit in Kaduna.

Kaduna River overflows on September 3. Photo by the Kaduna State Emergency Agency

“Caribbean citizens interested in supporting should contact Ms. Hamilton,  (Deandrea@MagneticMediaTV.com) for onward delivery to the MP in charge of the distribution of items in Nigeria. We have put structures in place to ensure these gifts will make the right impact,” said Bldr. Onuvajor, SOAD MP for Nigeria.

And the need along the Kaduna river has increased. 

Devastating floods have continued in Kaduna State; on September 3, hundreds of residents were again displaced by the downpour which caused the river to breach its banks.  In the August floods, four people died.  In the September flood, the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency reported that thankfully, no lives were lost.

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