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Dozens feared dead, hundreds displaced in flash floods

Dozens of people were killed and hundreds displaced when flash floods overwhelmed a bridge in the eastern Taraba state capital, Jalingo, and washed away homes, police and residents said on Monday.

Fed by heavy rain on Sunday, River Jalingo quickly swelled, putting pressure on the Nukkai Bridge which collapsed, taking down dozens of people crossing at the time, said police spokesman Saje Atajiri.

"We rescued five people alive and have so far recovered nine bodies," Atajiri said.

Many more people were still missing, and while police had no definite numbers of casualties, Atajiri said he expected a high toll given that villages and houses on the river bank were also engulfed by the flood waters.

Radio Nigeria on Monday cited some eyewitnesses as saying more than 60 people on the bridge, many spectators watching the water as it rose, fell in when the bridge collapsed and are believed to have died.

The radio reported Abu Tani, a senior government official in charge of social services in the state, as saying hundreds of displaced people have been provided temporary shelter in a primary school in Jalingo.

August and September are traditionally the wettest months in parts of northern and central Nigeria, with villages and towns on the banks of major rivers most at risk.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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