From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
PENULTIMATE weekend was not the best the people of Igbodo community in Ika NorthEast Local Government Area of Delta State had wished for because of the heavy rains that left some parts of the community under water. It was greatly flooded.
The rains started like every other day, and residents did not expect the disaster as the town, before then was not prone to flooding. But as the rains continued to descend from the sky, the resulting water kept creeping into homes and farmlands.
Some residents, who made frantic efforts to salvage their property, abandoned the exercise halfway as the flood kept coming. When the rains entered its third day, most properties had been damaged due to rampaging flood.
A distressed resident, Anthony Enweliku, told Daily Sun that it was not the first time the town was witnessing continuous rainfalls consecutively for three days, adding that they had never experienced flooding: “Sometimes, there would be rains for seven straight days, and water would not enter into our houses. But we were surprised that it rained for just three days, we are experiencing flooding in this community.
“We have lost a lot of properties to this flood. We thank God that there was no human casualty unlike in some other towns where flood carried people away. But the value of the property that we lost to the flood is huge.”
The rampaging flood wreaked havoc on farmlands, destroying crops, which value is yet to be quantified. Houses and items worth millions of naira were also submerged by the ravaging flood.
Some residents watched helplessly as the devastating flood pulled down fences to gain access to homes, adding that some persons were caught in water while trying to raise the level of their property.
“Water has carried away our houses in Igbodo. This has never happened before. We don’t know how we have offended nature that we are now at the receiving end. Government and other well meaning individuals should come to our aid,” Mrs. Stella Iwelugim lamented.
The Iyase (Prime Minister) of the Igbodo Kingdom, Dr. Ifeanyi Unomah, is one of those worse hit by the flood. His palatial residence was submerged. Community sources claimed that the retired university teacher is yet to recover from the disaster, as they claimed that since the day he abandoned the building to the ravaging flood, he was yet to return.
“The Iyase watched helplessly as the fence of his expanse premises go down. He immediately left the compound for safety, leaving his house and other properties to fate. Since then, we have not seen him around. He must have been devastated,” a source said.
Some other residents who suffered the same fate as the Iyase included Victor Okolie, Mrs. Rose Ijeh and Ogorchukwu Unomah, appealed to the relevant agencies of government to help cushion the impact of their loss. They said the properties, which they could not salvage literarily floated on water, adding the loss as a result of flood was enormous that they could not afford to bear the burden without any help in terms of relief materials from government.
There were conflicting accounts on what could be responsible for the development. Some claimed that the water was coming out from the ground as history has it that there was a small river called ‘Omelebele’ in that particular area of the community.
But President-General, Igbodo Development Union (IDU) Worldwide, Matthew Okwaje, attributed the flood to the overflow of water as a result of the heavy rains. He stated that roads and drains recently constructed in neighbouring towns of Umunede, Akumazi and Ekwuoma must have added to the heavy flooding “as the waters from the areas seem to find their ways to Igbodo which is in a valley.”
The President General said this was the first time flood was taking over a part of the community: “Prior to the construction of the said roads, Igbodo had never experienced such heavy flooding.” He disclosed that he was already making efforts to reach the state government, aimed at finding solution to the problem before the entire community is submerged by the water.
Another speculation is that the flooding was as a result of water overflowing from the Omelebele River, which hitherto almost dried up but may have been revived by the incessant rains recently. Residents, who align with this speculation, claimed that the water coming out from the ground is very neat.
Even with the conflicting claims, affected residents prayed that there should not be more rains as such would be so inimical to the wellbeing of the people.
The Obi of Igbodo Kingdom, Ikechukwu Osedume, sympathised with the affected residents describing the flooding incident as unfortunate. The monarch called on the state government and other relevant agencies to ensure that the drains being constructed in neighbouring towns are properly channelled to avoid re-occurrence of the disaster.