Several houses flooded as river overflows its banks in Abakaliki

Many residents recounted their losses.

Some residents of Abakaliki on Thursday counted their losses after Iyiudene River overflowed its banks after a downpour.

The rain, which started at 1a.m., lasted for five hours and sacked people from their homes.

The flood also hindered the free flow of traffic on Works Road in the town.

Some of the residents narrated their experiences to and called for government’s intervention to check a recurrence.

Victor Nwankwo, the proprietor of Universal Computer School at 21B Water Works Road, said that the rain destroyed all the school’s computers, Internet facilities and electrical gadgets.

”We came this morning only to discover to our chagrin that the entire offices in the school have been submerged. There is no access to the premises and all the school property are trapped there.

”We have hired some local swimmers to assist us in recovering some of the property,” he said.

Mr. Nwankwo said the destruction was huge, adding: ”We have lost so much to the flooding but for now I cannot give you an exact estimate until we have recovered all the property trapped in the flood.”

He attributed the annual overflow of the river to the construction of buildings along the water channels.

”Iyiudene flooding is almost an annual occurrence which normally happens around the months of July and August. I am surprised it started in June this time around and the flooding is caused by blockage of the waterways with residential and commercial buildings.

”Once it rains heavily water finds it difficult to flow through its axis thereby causing flood along the areas located along the banks,” he said.

He appealed to relevant authorities to dredge the river and demolish every structure situated close to the waterways.

Some other residents called on the government to take proactive measures toward solving the menace.

Eugene Obini, Emmanuel Odoh and Paschal Onwe, all living at 5, Aguyi Ironsi Street, recounted their experiences, saying that both the ground and first floors of the three-storey building were submerged.

They said the rain destroyed furniture and electronics equipment in the building. They appealed to the Ebonyi Government to come to their rescue and to take urgent steps in dredging the river and removing structures that hindered free flow of water in the area.

”For now all of us in this compound are homeless, at least not until the flood recedes, and we appeal to government and other well meaning individuals to come to our aid,” they said.

Similarly, building at No. 32 and No. 33 Afikpo Street were submerged in the flood.

Commenting on the development, Umunna Igboke, the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said his office would send an assessment team to the affected areas.

”This morning my office received the news of the overflow of the Iyiudene River and the devastations it had caused.

”We are making arrangement to dispatch our assessment team to the affected area before we will be able to make informed statement on the flood disaster,” he said.

The National Emergency Management Agency and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency had predicted heavy flooding during the year.

The agencies had warned people living along flood-prone areas to relocate to higher grounds to minimise losses.

Ebonyi was one of the states badly hit by the 2012 flood disaster, which destroyed farmlands, residential buildings and livestock.

(NAN)


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