GUTSURA, THE FORGOTTEN FLOODED COMMUNITY BY THE ZAMFARA RIVER

Millions of crops and hundreds of hectares of land, as been lost to flooding in Gummi Local Government area of Zamfara State. Consequently, the #Walkt oMali team chose the LGA as its first stop. The journey from Gusau, the capital of Zamfara to Gummi is about 300km. We had to sleep at Anka, while on Monday January 20 we proceeded to Gummi. To our surprise, it took us one hour to get a car to hitchhike on!
Gummi looks more developed than Anka, we visited the plalace of the Emir, and the team was welcomed by the Gummi senior district head, Lawali Banjiye( Bunun) . We had a one hour of focus group discussion at the palace about environmental and peace building issues within the community after which, we confirmed our community of interest was Gutsura.

Located about 60km from Gummi town, Gutsura is situated by the Zamfara River, which took its source from the River Niger.  The village has no source of power and health center, but has an MTN mobile network coverage, with just one well as their source of water. “Our community has been experiencing flooding for the past 10 years” explained Alhaji Umaru Nasarawa, the village head. Gutsura has about 570 households and 3,000 residents. Alhaji Umar also explained how swift they were able to have access to relief materials during the 2013 flood. Nevertheless, he reiterated that government has not helped in relocation [construction of permanent buildings, providing water, and electricity] of Gutsura to the new site allocated to them at New Gutsura

The team with Tukur at the New Gutsura Site
The #WalktoMali team engaged the youths of the community to a participatory mapping exercise while also documenting their local knowledge – the community itself has developed building a local embankment to reduce the impact of the flood. While this might not be enough, much will be needed to help build a solid, more concrete and longer embankment. Muhammad Tukur, the community spokesperson emphasized on how the village needs an urgent attention.

We have made up our mind to start moving to New Gutsura since the government has not started erecting shelter, but our greatest challenge is getting water from the site. I have personally dug three wells at the site, but couldn’t get water from one!” lamented Tukur.


As the rains will soon be here again, this village will be left with building more resilience to prevent flooding, except the government, international aid agencies, private companies build houses and important social amenities for this ailing community, or help them build a stronger embankment to prevent the next flooding, that is always experience due to the rise in water level from the Mashayar Dantudu River.

Author: Oludotun Babayemi

I work on for profit or not - for - profit projects as a Project Planner, Grant Writer and Information Manager.11 years ago, I started Cloneshouse Nigeria, 10 years ago, I started Follow The Money, with a Colleague in 2012, a citizen-led movement that promotes social accountability in rural communities, which a year after, got registered legally as Connected Development [CODE]. In the past 7 years, I have evaluated projects on Water, Power, Education, Health, Disaster Risk in Nigeria, and West Africa countries with the United Nations and the Japan International Corporation Agency. Education and Fellowships include Stanford University, USA; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; School of Data, Open Knowledge International, UK; USAID - Crisismappers. I Tweet @dotunbabayemi and am an email away at oludotunbabayemi@gmail.com

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