Obinna Uchendu, Abakaliki
Heavy rainfall that lasted over six hours Wednesday wrecked havoc in most parts of Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital causing serious flooding and destroying farm lands.
The rain which rendered many families homeless at Azugwu and Onuebonyi metropolis of the capital city, destroyed electricity poles, roofs, washed away farm crops and also caused serious vehicular traffic along Waterworks and Afikpo road in Abakaliki.
The heavy rain accompanied by wind and thunderstorms in some other parts of the state was said to have brought down some high-tension poles thereby, cutting off electricity supply to some areas.
When Everyday News visited the Azugwu area of the capital city where the rain caused serious flooding, it was observed that many school children who were returning from school had to wait several hours for the flooding to subside for them to access their homes.
It was also observed that those who could no longer exercise patience after several hours of waiting had to swim through the flood in their school uniforms and bags while others wept uncontrollably for fear of being drowned.
Some residents of the area who spoke to our reporter expressed regret that in the last 6 years, the situation has remained unresolved adding that every rainy season, the people go through difficult period accessing the other side of the road because of constant flooding.
A resident, Mr. Friday Ochunta expalined that some landlords in the area had in the past constructed makeshift culverts to assist in free movement of water flow in the swampy areas but each time there is serious rainfall, the woods used in the construction would be carried away by the flood.
“We have suffered this situation for the past 6 to 7 years now. There has been successive Council Chairmen in Abakaliki Local Government Area, we have had ward councilors from this area, the immediate past Commissioner for Power, Chief Emma Uguru who also happens to be a former Local Government Chairman in the local government resides some few meters away from this place but none of them see it as a necessity to construct a box culvert here”.
“Series of letters have been written to the office of the Chairman, Abakaliki Local Government Area both present and past but yet we have not gotten any response from them. Any day there is serious rain in Abakaliki, we will be cut out from those residing at the other side of the town”.
“School children also face the risk of being drowned. Many parents because of the fear of their children and wards crossing the flooding and getting drowned usually stop them from attending classes that day until the flooding subsides. Those saddled with the responsibility of taking such manace especially at the local government level have completely failed the people”.
“We therefore call on the state Governor, Chief David Umahi to please direct the Chairman Abakaliki Local Government Area to come to our rescue and save our children from untimely death and being out of school each time there is serious rainfall”.
Some other residents of OnuEbonyi in the state have expressed regret that since after the heavy rainfall, they have been left in darkness, occasioned by the destruction of electricity polls.
The rain, which started around 2pm, did not stop until at about 7pm. Though, there was no casualty recorded, properties worth millions of naira were destroyed by the rainstorm.
The rain which also caused heavy flooding in Afikpo North Local Government Area has set many families homeless who are now struggling to find friends and families to accommodate them.
A resident, Mr. Oko Agwu whose house was also affected by the rainstorm said it was a terrible experience for the residents of the area. According to him, no cases of casualty were recorded.
Mr. Agwu revealed that he has lost property worth thousand of naira to the rainstorm adding that many of his official documents, household appliances and even farmland were completely destroyed.
No fewer than 40 houses, including churches, were submerged in the flooding. Some other houses had there roofs completely removed by the storm.
Effort to get the reaction of the Abakaliki Local Government Council Chairman proved abortive as several calls put across to him was not answered.
But a staff of the Ebonyi State Emergency Management Agency who spoke on condition of anonymity said the agency would soon visit the affected areas to ascertain the level of destruction and report back to the state government.
He assured the people of the State government commitment to prompt emergency intervention expressing the hope that the state Governor would direct the council Chairman to find a lasting solution to the ugly trend to save the lives of school children in the area. Ends.