By Benprince Ezeh
ON June 22, 19-year-old teenager simply identified as Ayisat, was reportedly swept away by a strong flood around 12 p.m. at Alapafuja axis, Surulere Low-Cost Housing Estate, Lagos, following torrential rainfall in the state. Her body was later found at Onilegogoro canal in Surulere around 8:30 a.m on June 23.
In the wake of this tragic incident, the Lagos state government said that residents of lowland areas, such as Agboyi Ketu and Ajegunle, should relocate from their houses due to the heavy rain expected in the coming months. The government said this would forestall loss of lives and damage to properties that could result from the rain, which would intensify in August and September.
The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, stated this during a briefing made available to Realnews, warning people living along the plains of the Ogun River, that they should be on the alert as the Ogun Osun River Basin Authority would soon commence seasonal release of the Oyan River Dam.
He said that the controlled water release was due to a weather forecast and the continuous heavy downpour. “In July, five million cubic meters will be released, while by August, they will release eight to 10 million cubic meters. Same in September, it will be increased to 18 million cubic meters, while in October, 23 million cubic meters will be released, which is the peak, then by November, gradual reduction of water release to the tube will be 11 million cubic meters,” Bello said.
The commissioner noted that from the prediction of the Nigerian Meteorological Services, NiMET, released early in the year, the increasing frequency of extreme weather events indicated that year 2020 would experience days with an extremely high amount of rainfall which might result in flooding.
He, urged Lagosians not to be afraid, saying the state government had mapped out strategies to contain the flood.
Apart from Lagos, some other states in the country have also encountered this disaster in many ways, with many lives lost and buildings collapsed. In Kwara state, for example, heavy rainfall triggered flooding in the Ilorin area of the state. A bridge over the Asa River in Oko-Erin collapsed late on June 13, throwing a vehicle and five passengers into the floodwaters below. Two people survived and three are still missing. As at June 15, search and rescue operations had found the body of one victim, but the search for two other missing people continues.
Kayode Alabi, Deputy Governor of the state mourned the victims on June 14, while inspecting the affected bridge. Alabi who described the accident as disheartening as any loss of life is tragic and traumatic. “I was at the collapsed Oko-Erin Bridge in company of the Chief of Staff, Adisa Logun, earlier today to have first-hand information on the unfortunate incident that happened about 24 hours ago,” he posted on his twitter page.
The Secretary of the Kwara State Emergency Management Agency, Motunrayo Adaran, said that the agency would spare no effort to find the missing persons. “The road has now been cordoned off for safety reasons, with residents urged to stay away from the scene,” she said.
In Akwa-Ibom state, 100 houses were destroyed and 300 people displaced after flooding. A downpour lasting around 9 hours on June 14 triggered flooding in the Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state in the coastal southern part of the country. The flooding caused widespread material damages.
“The resultant flood displaced some residents of Eket in Edem Udo, Grace Bill, Marina Junction, Udoh Umoh, Stadium road, Ikot Udoma, Idua road among other adjoining streets in the area,” said the state’s Emergency Management Agency.
Likewise, Borno state where flood destroyed hundreds of shelters in Internally Displaced People’s, IDPs, camps in the state.
In Abia state, s0me residents of Ukwu-Mango area near the Ife-Obara basin in Aba, on Thursday, June 25, called and appealed to the state government to save them from disaster resulting from a failed pump at the basin.
Akuchi Egbe, a resident of the area said the flooding of the area had persisted for many years, but escalated with the overflowing of the Ife-Obara Basin, following many days of downpour. “The 5.6-kilometer drainage system Abia government built at Ife-Obara Basin to pump storm water from the Ariaria area to the Aba River has stopped functioning because weeds have overgrown in the entire basin. Because of this, businesses of residents had crumbled due to lack of patronage from their customers,” she said.
Another resident, Charity Ilomuanya, stressed that the flood around the area was destroying their means of livelihood and their houses and property. “Residents are losing the important property to flood each time it rains and the situation has made us hopeless.
“We don’t know what is going to happen tonight when the next rain comes. There is an Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, church at Olumba Street, go there now, nobody even comes there to worship again. It has been submerged since the rain started and the flood has destroyed almost everything inside there. I plead with the Abia government to please come and save us because we have suffered enough here,” she said.
On his part, Moses Igwe, who is a resident and owns a shop said that they had done their best to tackle the flood in their own way, but that the situation has overwhelmed them.
He said that the flood sacked many families, submerged homes and made it extremely difficult for families to even come out from their homes after the rains. “From Omuma road, the abattoir at Old Express, down to Francis Street, Olumba Street and the whole of this Ukwu Mango, no place is safe from flooding, we are living in a disaster zone.
“The Ife-Obara Basin that the government always talks on the radio of pumping water to Aba River, I am telling you there’s nothing like pumping water from here to Aba River. If there’s anything government can sincerely do to save us from the bad situation let them do it because people are already running away from their homes here and business places,” he said.
It is said that the government of Abia state had in 2017 reconstructed the basin with a pump in the bid to collect storm water from the Ariaria area, then move it to Ife-Obara, and then to Aba River, but the pump failed.
As July approaches, it is expected that rainfall will increase, if this happens, more lives and properties may be lost. Therefore both the federal and state governments need to clear the drainage, relocate those living in danger zone and increase the awareness of the dangers of flooding among Nigerians.
– Jun. 27, 2020 @ 13:45 GMT |