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October 24, 2022 at 9:53 AM #42423justseyiKeymaster
Flooding forces reptiles and humans to compete for dry land; a snakebite kills the village head’s wife
There has been a significant increase in snakebite cases, with more deaths recorded, as floods have also impeded access to treatment facilities.
More snakebites have been reported across the country as humans and reptiles collide in dry lands while fleeing devastating floods.
Correspondents from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited areas prone to snakebites and treatment centers discovered a sharp increase in cases, with more deaths recorded, as floods also obstructed access to treatment centers.
Among those killed was the wife of the village head of Magama in Plateau’s Langtang South Local Government.
“Yes, I can confirm that there is a significant increase in snakebite cases; one of the victims is the wife of Magama’s village chief.”
“It’s a frightening situation.” Snakes and humans are all fleeing the floods and would normally clash in the dry lands for space,” Dr Nandul Durfa told NAN.
Mr Durfa, Managing Director of Echitap Group, producers of Anti-Snake Venom (ASV), expressed regret that many lives had been lost due to the threat.
The former Chief Medical Director of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital also expressed concern about the scarcity of ASV in treatment facilities.
Dr. Abubakar Saidu Balla, Research Officer at Snakebite Research Hospital in Kaltungo, Gombe State, elaborated on the situation.
“Because of the devastating floods, farmlands are flooded, and snakes seek higher ground where they can mix with humans.”
“The situation is deteriorating in riverine areas around Borno, Adamawa, Kogi, Gombe, and Bauchi.”
“Floods drive snakes to migrate or carry them along, depositing them in forests, homes, or along river banks.”
“The situation is exacerbated by the fact that victims are unable to reach medical centers for treatment because roads and bridges have been washed away or flooded.”
“Motorcycles are usually useful in rural areas, but they can’t ride through the water right now.” Victims frequently arrive at treatment facilities dead.”
Mr Balla stated that going to the farms, particularly in Gombe, had become dangerous.
“It’s time to harvest groundnuts and maize, but going to the farm is extremely dangerous right now because snakebites are on the rise.”
“Because farmers cannot leave their crops in the bush, contact with snakes is often unavoidable,” he explained.
Meanwhile, according to hospital records, 1,900 snake bite victims have been admitted since January.
According to its Chief Medical Officer, Dr Suleiman Mohammed, 34 of the victims died.
He claimed that the majority of the victims were herders and farmers who were mostly in the bush and often in danger.
“When the rains are at their heaviest, we tend to have more patients because the waters dislodge most of the snakes from their holes and hiding places.”
“So, when there is a flood, it is associated with snakebites because the flood tends to move the snakes away from their usual habitat and they frequently go to areas where humans live.”
He stated that six deaths occurred in October, with the remainder occurring from January to September.
According to reports from Lokoja in Kogi, snake attacks have become common, with people living in fear.
“We live in fear of snakes, but we thank God that no snakebite incidents have been reported,” Usman Agbaje, a resident, told NAN.
He claimed that travellers on the flooded Ganaja-Lokoja road had frequently encountered large snakes while in boats.
Another resident, Joseph Benjamin, reported seeing snakes at the Army Barracks.
“A large one was recently seen in a room; we were fortunate that it was killed before it could harm anyone.”
“Not long ago, a little girl saw a snake under a chair and immediately alerted her parents, who later killed it,” he explained.
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