David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
A recent heavy rainfall in Nnewi, Anambra State wreaked havoc in the industrial community as about one hundred residential buildings and twenty cottage industries were submerged.
The worst hit was Mbanakwu-Odida, Nnewichi area of the industrial town where residents were still counting their losses.
President General of Nzuko Oganiru Nnewichi, Mr Cyprian Okolo, who took newsmen round the affected areas, said problem started when the water channels built to checkmate flooding in the area collapsed following a very heavy downpour.
The President General explained: “The rain unarguably was the heaviest this year and the flood waters outflew the channels. In the process, fences of many residential buildings collapsed with the flood causing terrible havoc in the affected areas.
“The flood which took over the entire ground floor of my building submerged five cars, generators and motorcycles.
“My table water industry was also submerged. The water borehole sunk for the business collapsed and got filled with flood waters; the sumo machine has also been destroyed. Many people in this area had to run away from their houses when it became obvious to them that they might get drowned in the rampaging flood.”
Okoro said that over N20million worth of property was destroyed in his own house and his table water factory. He noted that the area suffered similar fate in 2009 and that many government officials visited them then and made promises that something would be done to prevent a reoccurrence. None of the promises, according to him, was fulfilled till the community got hit again by the rampaging flood 10 years after: “As we talk now, many families are displaced and now squatting with relations and friends who are residing in the areas not affected by the flood in and outside Nnewi. We passionately appeal to relevant government agencies to come to our rescue as we have become internally displaced persons.”
Another landlord there, Mr Nebo Chukwudi while narrating his ordeal said close to thirty people were seriously affected in his building. He explained that all the tenants in the affected building had become stranded and were living like war victims.
He appealed to the Anambra state Government to help the community to reconstruct the flood channels which, according to him, had become too shallow to take care of the volume of flood waters whenever it rained: “On our own, we as responsible citizens will try and open up the channels where they are blocked but the truth is that there is need for urgent reconstruction of drainage channels to reflect the current realities and individuals certainly cannot handle that”.
Chukwudi expressed worry that many families had been left with the only option of relocating outside their homes, for fear of being washed away by the rampaging flooding, especially as heavy rainfalls had not subsided.