Flood victims in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia state, have appealed to the Federal and State Governments for help. The victims lost goods and other valuables worth millions of naira, to a heavy downpour that lasted for about six hours, submerging houses and rendering people homeless.
Mostly affected, were residents of Ngwa, Omuma and Ohanku Roads whose houses were submerged and valuables destroyed. Other areas affected were the Ariaria International, Ahia-Ohuru, and Eziukwu Markets.
Many residents of Ahuronye Street, Nwaogu, Obuda/Eziukwu and Ohanku Roads in Ndiegoro area of Aba were rendered homeless by the downpour.
Okechukwu Egechi, of 17 Ahuronye Street, told journalists that the experience of Wednesday flood was not new, but noted that the damage was of a different dimension. He attributed the flooding to an abandoned drainage that terminated in their area, thereby diverting all storm water from other major roads into their area.
“We have been crying for many years now. I was around yesterday when the rain started but when I got to my area, I couldn’t enter my house as everywhere was under water.
Egechi decried the attitude of politicians in government, saying they cared only for themselves.
In his words, “It’s so sad that we have people representing us in government, who don’t even care about us. My children and the entire tenants in my house picked merely their clothes and moved out when the rain was becoming heavy and I nearly lost my 13-year-old daughter to that flood. She was the last to leave the house, as I was told, but suddenly fell into the flood.
“I know it was only God who saved her. She’s not here now, because most of them are taking refuge elsewhere. She was rescued by people”, he stated. Alex Kewell, a resident of 15 Ahuruonye Street, explained that the flood pulled down the fence and entire building and made a mess of everything valuable. “As I speak to you now, we are homeless, and stranded. The rain started around 4.00pm and the flood submerged the entire building in our street and neighbourhood around 6.00pm.
“The problem is coming from an abandoned drainage that was wrongfully channelled to this street some years back, but the government has refused to do anything to save us. We only rejoice in the dry season”.
A pastor, Oriaku Chisom, whose church is located along Ahuronye Street, stated that flood and its consequences had become an annual occurrence in the area. “The situation is not new. It has become an annual event. People will suffer and buy household equipment only to lose them to flood every year, because of carelessness.
“My church is here but I packed out from this area some years back and the problem is still there. Yesterday’s flood covered
some of the houses at 7.00pm. We have cried; we have wept; we have begged, but it seems as if we are not humans.
“Storm water coming from Omuma and Cemetery Roads were channelled into people’s homes in Uratta axis by a previous administration in the state. Now, a contract has been awarded by the federal government through the ecological fund which has to do with this problem but they just came here, reopened that old abandoned drainage that was channelled to nowhere and then dropped it. Children are hanging around in neighbourhood because parents are busy trying to see if there’s any way they can help themselves”.
He appealed to the federal and state governments to come to their aid, as the residents are stranded and have nowhere to go.
Also, the Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) appealed to the state government and legislators, representing the area in the national and state assemblies to come to the aid of the victims.
The group, in press statement signed by Chief Goodluck Egwu Ibem, its president general, urged the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) to clear the heap of refuse that have blocked the drainage channels inside the market which he observed was the cause of the flood.
“We sympathise with traders in Ahia Ohuru over the destruction of their goods by flood as a result of the heavy rain on Wednesday, June 13, 2019. We call on the state government and the Ngwa road market authorities to as a matter of urgency clear the refuse that has blocked the drainage channels inside the market which lead to the unfortunate incident.
“We also call on the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, the member representing Aba North and Aba South Federal Constituency, Hon. Ossy Prestige, senator representing Abia South, Senatorial zone, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and other well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of these traders”.