The emergency situation in Plateau South worsened Tuesday morning with the collapse of the Shendam Bridge, cutting off most parts of the southern part of the state from Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba, and trapping rescue officials who had responded to the emergency caused by the flooding which preceded rains that fell through out Saturday and Sunday.
The bridge finally collapsed after the rains continued through Monday night. Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had gone to distribute relief materials to victims in Wase, Langtang and Shendam local government areas.
The floods had taken led to a death toll of at least 28 people by Monday, with many others still missing, while also destroying homes, bridges and farmland, officials said on Tuesday.
“We have lost our main bridge and we are at a loss as to how to handle this matter,’’ said a visibly shaken Alex Dabo, Supervisory Councillor in charge of Social Services in Shendam Local Government.
Mr Eugene Nyelong, NEMA Relief and Rehabilitation Officer for the North-Central, who was among the stranded officials, added that the agency’s officials were already on ground to ascertain the level of damage to the bridge.
“We have to ensure that no casualty is recorded; we are also looking into the possibility of erecting a temporary alternative passage to restore some form of communication. ’’
“It is indeed a very bad situation; very devastating, but we shall see what we can do as quickly as possible,’’ he said.
NEMA spokesman for North-Central, Audu Yohanna, described the development as “very unfortunate’’, but expressed relief that no casualty was recorded.
“Nobody was killed, but cars cannot cross to the other side as I speak with you. The residents are just confused.
“What we intend to do is to try to find a way to Langtang through Tunkus and Mikang, while others will move through Lafia in Nasarawa State .’’
Plateau has continued to suffer massive flood incidents with worst incidents recorded in Gangare, Tudun-Osi, Tudun Talakawa and Angwan Rogo settlements in Jos north where scores got drowned.
NIMET has predicted flooding in many states, among them Plateau, and advised stakeholders to be very vigilant.