by crossriverwatch admin
Over three hundred and fifty residential and public buildings in Calabar, the Cross River State capital and surrounding suburbs were in the early hours of Monday ravaged by flood following heavy down pour that lasted for about six hours.
Most of the residents including women and children were forced to spend the night outside after their houses were swept away into drainages.
Household property such as electronics, mattresses, kitchen utensils, clothes and food stuffs were floating and got swept away as the devastating rains could not allow the owners to salvage anything due to the high winds and waves that accompanied the rain.
When CrossRiverWatch correspondent went round the city yesterday morning, clothes, shoes, pots and foodstuff were scattered all over the place while the victims were engaged in scooping water and mud from their devastated homes.
It was observed that the flooding was principally caused by blocked drainages by debris and refuse and the narrow nature of some channels which could not contain the high volume of water.
Mrs. Theresa Idum a widow who refused to be consoled lamented the loss of her house which collapsed and all the property in it lost to the flood. She appealed to the state Government to urgently rebuild her house.
Mrs. Grace Minika who had her compound of 5 buildings serious battered and part of the walls pulled down said that the flood waters found its way to the compound through a broken wall from another street, Elijah Henshaw few poles away.
Even the University of Calabar was not spared by the rampaging flood waters as the Atiku Hall hostel in the Campus was also heavily flooded with several properties destroyed.
Speaking to our reporter, Mr. Innocent Victor, Chairman of the business owners union in the hostel who runs a restaurant said he was severely affected and that flooding in the area started over five years ago and that they have repeatedly drawn the attention of the University management to it but no action was taken.
He said “In 2007 when we first experienced it, it was minor but in 2010 it became serious that we had to look for alternative, in 2011 it happened again but presently the only option left to us is to buy the pumping machine to be using in draining the water since the school management is not ready to intervene after we have paid our rents”.
He lamented that “We are not many in number that can afford to pull resources together to purchase the pumping machine, so we use buckets to pack the water out which is strenuous”.
He disclosed that each time it rains heavily they lose property worth hundreds of thousands of Naira, adding that for him today and few days to come will be hell because he had already gone to the market and bought food items for the week before the rain spoilt his plans.
Mrs. Margaret Felix Archibong, a computer business operator said her desk top, lap top and generator was ‘swallowed by the flood’.
Another victim, Mr. Abraham Owuna, who also runs a computer business center, said the destruction done by the flooding has become a thorn on their flesh particularly now that the rains are getting heavier. “My generator of over forty thousand has been damaged and plenty printing papers, how and where will I get money to buy a new generator when power supply is not steady”, he queried.
Miss. Aniebiette Abasi Friday, another victim who also runs a store disclosed that her lap top and generator were damaged by the flood while Mr. Edim Sunday, a photographer and book vendor said his books worth hundreds of thousands, laptop, two generators and printer were also damaged by the flood.
They all appealed to public spirited individuals and organizations to come to their rescue.
The Director General, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Vincent Aquah who assessed the disaster round the town sympathized with the victims and promised that the relevant agencies would collaborate to tackle the problem.
Mr. Aquah however commended the state government for embarking on massive road and channel construction which has greatly reduced the effect of the disaster which he said would have been more devastating.
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