Experts in the built environment have added their voices to the call for governments of South eastern states to constitute a committee to study and report the remote and immediate causes of the landslides that took place in Ibeku, Umuahia in Asia state.
The speakers expressed concern that if the trend was not checked on time, could add to the erosion menace already devastating the area. One of the speakers, Mr. Anya Okafor, a building engineer, said the landslide is on the verge of wreaking more havoc in the area and advised governments not to handled it with levity.
“In the developed countries, this kind of scenario is handled with combined efforts of contigueous states involved and the Federal Government. That will give us an immediate attention. But if that will not be handled immediately, it may have to affect other areas,”he said.
A major disaster was averted on the night of Monday, October 28, 2019 at Umuchime Amuzukwu-Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, when a landslide destroyed a building in the area, while the occupants – a nursing mother and her child escaped unhurt.
Narrating the incident to newsmen, the victim, Mrs Ijeoma Emmanuel, said that the incident happened around midnight. She said that she felt a vibration on the ground, followed by a major crack on the wall of their building. “Just moments after I stepped out of my building with my baby to ascertain the cause of the vibration, the building collapsed right into the deep gully behind it,”she said. She expressed gratitude to God for sparing their lives. Other residents of the area said the disaster had destroyed many homes and farmlands in the area since it first occurred two years ago.
A civil servant, Mr Azubuike Jinanwa, said that many houses and farmlands in the area had been swept away by the disaster. Jinanwa said that more buildings and farmlands were presently under serious threat by the phenomenon, causing palpable panic in the community. He said that the landslide first occurred about two years ago, when property, including buildings and farmlands, worth millions of naira were destroyed.
He described Monday’s incident, involving the nursing mother and her child, as colossal but thanked God that no life was lost. Jinanwa said that the problem had gone beyond the capacity of the individuals and community and appealed to the state and Federal Governments to come to their rescue. “I’m appealing to government at all levels to come to our aid and help us in this time of great need,’’ he said.
Also, a clergyman, Mr Patrick Asiegbu, said that residents of the area now lived in fear, especially whenever it rained. Asiegbu said that the disaster had defied individual efforts to checkmate it, including tree planting and fortification of perimeter fences with concrete pillars.
He said that the situation had become more precarious and called gor government’s urgent intervention. A housewife and mother of three, Mrs Ifeoma Nkemakolam, described her condition as helpless, regretting that she has no money to relocate her family out of the danger zone.
Nkemakolam said, “I am appealing to the federal and state governments to come to our aid.’’