From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Tragedy struck Calabar residents as downpour wreaked havoc, destroying electrical installations, private and public buildings and submerged cars.
The rain, which started with heavy windstorm and thunder and lasted for about two hours, also disrupted economic activities as the whole metropolis was over flooded and major drains blocked.
After two hours of intensive rains,
vehicular movements was also disrupted, trees and electric poles were brought down, roofs tops were blown off and several buildings destroyed including General Hospital, Calabar and several offices complexes at the University of Calabar.
Major streets affected by the rain include Murtala Mohammed Highway Calabar Road, Mary Slessor Avenue, Effio-Ette Junction, Target -Goldie Street axis, UNICAL community, Atimbo Road and 8-Miles.
At the General Hospital, Calabar, it was observed that the post natal ward was flooded and some hospital equipment submerged just a windows at theatre ward were blown off, thereby disrupting activities and leaving some patients frustrated.
Inspecting the extent of the damage at General Hospital, Calabar, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, said: “This is a very sad and unfortunate situation as the rains came along with a heavy storm and wind causing major damages across the facility and the town.
“We’ve never had any case of flooding in General Hospital. Most disturbing is the fact that mothers who just put to birth. But we’ll get down to works to effect repairs in the hospital. We promise to change the windows and all affected roofs immediately .
“This post natal ward was actually renovated by MTN 2yrs ago and everything here was of standard until this heavy down pour. Now we know the areas that needs immediate repairs.”
Dr Edu, who sympathised with the victims while going round the wards, assured them of more quality services even as she supported the over 20 women/mothers and their babies with a cash donation and relief materials.
Also speaking after inspecting the affected areas at the University of Calabar, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Florence Obi, lamented that that the windstorm was coming at a time where the University was yet to recover from the destruction of its facilities by hoodlums who hijacked the Endsars protest on Oct. 24, 2020.
She listes buildings affected to include the Medical College, Post Graduate School, Faculty of Education, Printing Press, Senate Chambers, open pavilion and Department of Medical Laboratory.
Others are the Sen. Godswill Akpabio Engineering Lecture Theatre, telecommunication mast, the Isolation Centre, electrical and solar installations, the Vice Chancellor’s office, the male and females hostels among others.
Decrying the damage, she said: “Property worth millions of naira have been destroyed by windstorm. We have invested so much on the printing press because we wanted to make it a commercial venture; even the Senate Chambers of the University where we used to have our international cooperation have all be affected because the roof has been destroyed.Even the new Medical College building that was yet to be handed over to the school was also badly affected.
“We are appealing to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, the Niger Delta Development Commission, National Emergency Management Agency, TetFund, well meaning Nigerians and Alumni of the institution to come to our aid,” she said.
Residents of the metropolis have lamented the destruction following the down pour and called on government to come to their rescue.
Mrs Immanuela Ekpenyong, residing at Target Street in Calabar South, said all her house hold items including beddings, cooking utnesils, electronics and foodstuff were all washed away by the rain, rendering her homeless.
Immanuela, 38, said: “I was outside when the rain started and by the time i got home about 5:00pm flood had taken over my house with the children watching from outside. I am finished and dont know who or where to run to. I need relief to sustain my family for now.”
One of the women, who just put to birth, Mrs Lucy Etta, commended the proactive nature of the commissioner, adding that the financial support and relief materials given to over 20 of them would go a long way to assisting them.