Torrential rain had filled the reservoir to critical levels, causing it to breach and send floodwaters through villages.

State governor Ahmed Sani confirmed the structural damage, but insisted that earlier media reports stating that 40 people had died in the tragedy were premature, saying that all those missing have been found safe and alive. People whose homes were destroyed are sheltering in a nearby school.

Sani predicted that emergency repairs to the dam, the main source of drinking water for Gusau, would take approximately two weeks.