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Nigeria Floods Unprecedented*

More than 100 feared dead in Nigeria flooding

September 2, 2001 Posted: 1:15 PM EDT (1715 GMT)

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) -- A traditional ruler in northern Nigeria said on Sunday more than 100 people had died in last week's flooding in the area and he appealed for emergency aid to resettle survivors.

But local residents and government officials could not corroborate the latest figure given by Waziri (traditional prime minister) Yusuf Ringim, whose local government area of Ringim in Jigawa state was the worst hit.

"More than 100 people were killed in the Ringim flood disaster," Ringim told Reuters.

"I have just discussed with the Emir (of Ringim) who described the situation as devastating," said Ringim, who lives in the commercial city of Kano, some 100 km (60 miles) from the flood area.

"We are appealing to well-meaning Nigerians and members of the international community to come to the aid of the victims," he added.

Reporters at state-owned Jigawa radio said up to 60 people were missing and believed to have been swept away, after torrential rains last week caused the nearby Tiga and Challawa dams and the Kano river to overflow.

"Obviously some lives were lost, but to talk of 100 dead appears on the high side," a radio reporter contacted by telephone said.

The Kano state government announced on Saturday that floods in its own territory had killed a total of 18 people over the past week -- the highest official death toll of the disaster.

Local relief agencies were caring for tens of thousands of displaced villagers sheltering in school buildings, but aid workers have given no figures for bodies recovered or people taken to hospital, residents said.

The flash floods in Jigawa and Kano states, both in the arid northern belt of Nigeria on the lower fringes of the Sahara Desert, have been described by residents as unprecedented.

Some 30,000 people have been left homeless by the flooding, which swept away 25 villages, officials have estimated.

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