The night of Sunday July 22, 2012 will remain indelible in the lives of the people of Rikkos and Gangare communities in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State. A flood disaster, triggered by torrential rains that lasted for hours has overflowed the Lamingo dam sweeping over 200 houses in the affected areas. About 50 people have since been buried as a result of the disaster with over 20 people still missing. Last Sunday’s flood disaster has bounded a community that shared a common tragedy in mourning and homelessness.
Malam Kabiru popularly known as Usama is one of the victims of the disaster, his house was washed away by the Sunday night flood carrying a long his wife and five children while he was attending tafsir in a nearby mosque.
He had joined other community members to search for his wife and five kids after the flood subsided; and slowly by Monday afternoon the hopes of the community was dashed with the rescue and funeral prayers of 14 corpses. As more corpses were discovered, hopes of dejected family members sank at the possibility of ever finding someone alive.
However, like a ray of light, Aisha’s discovery soon brightened Malam Kabiru’s mood as he tearfully expressed his joy and appreciation to the Almighty for sparing one member of his family swept away by the rain. Aisha who was found on Monday night reunited with her father on Tuesday evening when one of his brothers found her in the company of her rescuers.
Though Aisha keeps saying she cannot remember anything; or that she doesn’t know what happened, the eight-year-old was able to tell Weekly Trust that she remembered her mother asked her and her siblings to climb the windows of their house in order to stay above the flooding water. She said “my mother woke us up in a room full of water. She told us to climb the window and she also climbed the window, but then the water took her and my siblings away.”
When asked what happened after the water took her family, she said she found herself in the water and was later rescued by a stranger. However, Weekly Trust observed Aisha was very quiet for a girl of her age though she said she felt fine.
Her father, Malam Kabiru also said she was taken to a clinic when he noticed her temperature was high. “But she is fine, I noticed they included a malaria drug among the medications given to her and she has been taking them. A lot of people had asked whether she has been acting normal since her return, she sometimes sits quietly because she knows that her mother and siblings were gone, but I try to reassure her that what happened was God’s will and by His grace we will overcome it,” he said.
He said though the eight-year-old knows that the water took her mother and siblings, she is yet to fully grasp the enormity of the situation, however, he feels at ease seeing her play among her age group.
On the day Malam Kabiru reunited with his daughter, he explained that “Aisha, my eight-year old daughter and Hauwa her elder sister were found alive in different locations on Monday, but Hauwa was said to have consumed a lot of water and she died before she was taken to the hospital. My wife’s corpse was also among the nine found by NEMA on Monday night now I am waiting for any news on my three other children.”
He said “the man who rescued Aisha told me he found her in the river, but miraculously the wreckage of a building was supporting her at the same time her arms were on top of a plank which helped keep her afloat.”
Malam Kabiru and his daughter who have presently moved in with Aisha’s grandparents in Gangare, described his daughter as a gold medal who has given him a light of hope.