Judex Okoro, Calabar
Landslide has destroyed over 40 houses and historical sites at Marina axis of Calabar South, in Cross River State.
Some of the prominent buildings affected include the Palace of the Obong of Calabar, Edgerley Memorial primary School, Primary Health Centre and the Europeans’ Cemetery.
For over 30 years running, that axis of Anderson and Marina have been experiencing erosion challenges and the community has tried its best to checkmate the menace to no avail.
Regardless, the incessant down pour between late September and this month had worsened the plight of the residents as, suddenly, some houses started caving in while the gully sites widened, thus, the movement of the earth.
Narrating their ordeals, the village head of Esuk Effiom Anderson Akoi, Dr Effiom Magnus Henshaw, said the erosion challenge has been on for over 30 years now.
Dr Henshaw said Federal Government had intervened severally to mitigate the impact of the landslide, but it had got out of control, leading to their present predicament.
He said: “At the moment, the gully site is expanding at very fast rate. The community had tried within the limit of available resources, but the rate at which the gully is expanding, with new sites created at very short notice, had the life of the residents at risk.
“Most of the affected residents are now relocating and I am appealing for urgent attention by relevant government agencies to forestall disasters,” he said.
Equally expressing concern, the youth leaders of the area, Prince Andem Ewa Ekeng and Mr Ewa Bassey, said, in a separate interview, that the youths in the area have tried all their possible best to control the erosion.
They said the gully does not escalate, but their efforts proved abortive and called on government to consider looking at the area with a view to controlling it.
Lamenting their woe, the Head Teacher of Edgerley Memorial Primary School, Mrs Charity Okon Tom, and the officer in charge of the Primary Health Centre, Mrs Orok Ita, said the gully sites pose great danger to the pupils and nursing mothers, especially during the nights, and appealed for emergency steps to be taken.
When our correspondent called at the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Director General, John Inaku, was not in the office, and some officials contacted said they were not aware and that provisions were no longer made for them to take care of such emergencies in recent times.