Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lessons from Ibadan Downpour

In New York, Hurricane Irene is making is making people to flee from their homes as there has been cautionary measures put in place, at Ibadan, people are just over-powered by the powers behind the heavy downpour.

This is making approximately, 5-days to the anniversary of the day rain wreaked havoc on Ibadan 31 years ago, residents of the Oyo State capital were, again, left mourning, following disaster brought upon them by a downpour that lasted for  approximately 6-hours on Friday.
Ibadan is recorded to have ravaged on Sunday, August 31, 1980, with many lives and property lost to the rain which then a juju musician, Ebenezer Obey,  in a dirge, called ‘ojo abami’ (strange downpour).

The Friday's Ibadan downpour of the rain of rage and flood of tears came barely four weeks after the town was flooded in a similar manner, prompting government officials to start clearing most drainages that had been choked up with dirts. Although the downpour affected virtually every area of Ibadan, areas that were mostly affected were communities in Oluyole, Iddo, Akinyele, Lagelu, Ibadan South West, Egbeda, North West, and North East local government areas. The downpour resulted in serious traffic gridlock and commuters were stranded on their way home. Many eventually slept in their work places hotels and accessible places of abode of friends. Also, many motorists abandoned their vehicles on the road, either as a result of mechanical faults or out of fear of being washed away by the flood.
In Oluyole Estate, behind Vine Hospital, a man who was trying to escape through the ceilling when his house was flooded, got stuck and eventually died.

In Agbowo/U.I area of the town, at least,  15 people, mostly children, lost their lives to the downpour. Around Ile Eja/Carpenter area of Agbowo, it was a gory sight and a tale of sorrow and tears as many people could be seen swarming round dead bodies of children and grown up victims of the flood.
Sunday Tribune gathered that some of the dead victims included four children of the same father and their grandfather, another set of children and about five grown-ups.
Attempts to speak with relatives of some of the deceased children were unsuccessful, as they were not in the right frame of mind to speak. One of them even fainted and was resuscitated by sympathisers.
One of the residents of the area, Isaac Adedeji, whose house was also affected in the flood, stated that the area had not witnessed flooding in the past 12 years since the river around the area was dredged. He laid the blame of the flooding at the doorsteps of residents whom he said were fond of dumping refuse indiscriminately.
However, one of the miracle survival was that of a goat which was locked in a building along with about five others, which died as a result of the flood.
In Major Salawu and Quality areas of Agbowo, anger was in the air, as people gathered round flooded homes and two rivers in the community blaming government for not doing anything to checkmate the incessant flooding of the areas. Sympathisers were also seen around the home and corpse of a woman who died in the flood. The son of the deceased, who claimed to be a police officer, nearly threw caution into the wind as he almost beat our correspondent who went to cover the story.
When Sunday Tribune visited the area, residents, led by a community leader, Honourable Peter Oladitan, were seen trying to evacuate those who were still trapped in their houses.
However, contrary to other reports, while speaking with Sunday Tribune, Honourable Oladitan, who is a former member of Ibadan North Local Government Area caretaker committee, said rescuers had been able to retrieve 18 bodies, mostly those of children as well as that of a 76-year old who had drowned in her house.
He added that the Bodija stream, which passes through the community, overflowed its bank; a situation he said aided the flood, while also putting the blame on thos e who have formed the habbit of dumping refuse in the stream.

Family of eight loses six children in OluyoleA family of eight, on Saturday was said to have lost six children at Oluyole area of Ibadan to the flood which submerged their house.
As gathered, the father of the children, said to be on night duty, was not around when the incident happened, but the mother, said to be at home with the children, could not save the situation, as she could only wriggle herself out of the house.
The bodies of the children have not been found as of  press time, since nobody could gain access to the waterlogged house.
Also, their parents were not available for comments, as they have already taken cover somewhere else since there house was not inhabitable form.
But a nearby resident, Deacon John Okatche of Christ Jubilee Church at Adewumi Layout, Oke Ayo area of Oluyole Estate, whose church was adjacent to the victims' house, told Sunday Tribune that he had not encountered such problem in the area since he got to Ibadan in 1986.
“When we came in this morning, we discovered a family living very close to the church, just right beside our toilet area; only the wife escaped, the husband was on night shift and their children, who slept in the house, about seven of them, were nowhere to be found,” he said.
Apart from this family, property worth millions of naira were lost to the flood by people living at Oke Ayo, Alaafin Avenue, Rhema Chapel area abd Sumal Foods area of the estate as most of the houses in these areas were either submerged by flood or water-logged.
Some of the affected residents, who spoke with Sunday Tribune, expressed shock, as they said they had never witnessed such flood tide since over three decades that they had been living in the area.
They blamed the situation on the overflow of Eleiyele dam, which they said made the water to flow beyond its boundary. Lack of good drainage system was also said to be one of the causes of the deluge.
But an expert, Mr. Dupe Abimbola, who said he had worked at Eleiyele Water Works for years, said it could not have been as a result of the the fact that the dam was flushed out when it rained.
According to him, “this problem is not directly an Eleiyele problem, but channelisation problem.
“Eleiyele dam works automatically, once there is a pressure builtdup on the dam, it has  automatic valves that will open up and release water into Odo Ona. It is a very simple thing.
“But Odo Ona is not channeled to accept that volume of water. So, it will overflow into houses, spoil properties and destroy lives as we have seen today.
“The only solution is to appeal to governments to channelise Odo Ona the way they did to Ogunpa.”
A bungalow was almost totally submerged at Oke Ayo area of Oluyole Estate.
Fear of coffin during floodResidents of the area also became apprehensive when they discovered that a coffin was floating on the flood that had taken over the street, raiding the suspicion that cemeteries might have been affected by the flood.

Five swept away in OrogunAt the Orogun junction area of the city, five people were said to have been swept away on Friday night when a human chain formed by 20 people broke in the middle of flood water on UI-Ojoo road. Vehicles and other valuable property were similarly touched with electric poles and cables lying dangerously on the road.
The Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Irapada Parish, which is located by the roadside, was mostly affected by the flood, even as the Shepherd-in-Charge and a survivor, Most Supreme Evangelist Onafujabi Babatunde, stated that about 57 members of the church were trapped inside the auditorium while the flooding lasted. He revealed that they all ran for safety on the galery of the auditorium, noting that all of them survived.
He called on the government to rise to the occasion by constructing a real bridge at the Orogun junction, instead of the box culvert which was constructed by the government, despite warnings that it might not curtail erosion in the area.
Indeed, most residents who spoke with Sunday Tribune attributed the severe flooding to the habit of people who dump refuse indiscriminately.
While the flooding was ongoing on Friday night, many residents of Mokola-Roundabout area were seen dumping refuse into the gutters.
A community leader in Agbowo, Pa Lawal Ajibade, said the disaster would persist if residents of Ibadan would not change their attitude towards uncleanliness.

Flood wrecks havoc in Ibadan PolytechnicThe rain left a devastating effect on facilities at The Polytecnic, Ibadan as property worth millions of naira were lost.
When Sunday Tribune visited the premises of the higher institution, some of the severly-affected were the staff quarters, students’ hostels, Bursary Department, the newly-renovated assembly hall, registry department, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, lecture theatres and the Centre for Information and Data Management.
Visibly worried about the magnitude of the damage, the rector of the institution, Professor Ayobami Odunola, assured students of the institution that efforts would be made to restore essential services lost to the flood.

Five bodies recovered in New GarageAt a community on the New Garage/Apata expressway, the chairman of the caretaker committee of Oluyole Local Government Area of the state, Abass Aleshinloye, told Sunday Tribune that bodies of five people were removed from different houses by youths in the community.
In Maje, at Idi Mango area of Soka, an eyewitness told Sunday Tribune that the flood swept away a car and killed a child.

One swept away at Oje area
At Temidire area of Oje, a family of four, which had been sacked by the flood and was looking for where to stay for the night, confided in Sunday Tribune that the Temidire Stream overflowed its bank and ferried away one person.

Woman lost poultry farm, fish pond to floodA poultry farm and a fish pond filled with chicken and fishes were also reportedly swept away by the flood on Friday at Onipon Estate, Podo area of Ibadan. The farm, which was reportedly owned by a woman, was said to be large with birds fishes worth millions of naira.

Corpse deposited in ApataThe corpse of a middle-aged woman was also reportedly discovered at Oke Ayo area of Apata on Saturday. According to a resident of the area, the people of the community found the body of the woman deposited at the path of the flood.
The resident added that efforts to locate relatives of the woman proved abortive, while it was suspected that the flood must have carried the corpse from a far distance.

Family wiped out in IjokodoIn Ijokodo area, one of the people affected was one Mr. Kunle Akinyele, a member of Christ Family Assembly Word Communication Ministry (WOCOM) Onireke, Ibadan. He, alongside his two daughters and his wife’s nephew, who came to visit them, lost his life.
He was said to be already in the house by the time the rain started with his daughters and his wife’s nephew when the rain started. According to an eyewitness, a fence close to their residence fell on their apartment killing everyone in the building.
Akinyele’s wife, Bukola, who returned home after the downpour, was said to have discovered their bodies. Their bodies were said to have been deposited at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

Church, cars, buildings submerged in Odo OnaThe story was not different at Odo Ona area of Ibadan on the Apata axis as residents have only losses to count. For Reverend Ezekiel Odunlade of Prepare Way for Jesus Evangelical Church, it was a double loss as his church and property went with the rain. Speaking with Sunday Tribune, Reverend Odunlade said: “All that I was able to retrieve were some documents belonging to the church. All other property have been trapped.”
The rain did not spare the luxury building and posh cars of Mr. Isaac Adebayo, whose three-year-old four-flat building was submerged to almost to half of its entire height.
While Sunday Tribune witnessed occupants of the building salvaging some property from the ground floor, there was still no hope of how to retrieve the three cars — a Pathfinder , a Toyota Camry and a Golf — that were trapped in his flooded compound.

Ajibode community cut offThe Ajibode community, situated behind the University Of Ibadan,  was completely cut off from the town as the dreaded river in the community overran its bank, shutting people at home, while many residents, who were outside before the rain, could not go in. Even the new bridge, allegedly being constructed for the community by the UI authorities, as tall as it is, was totally submerged by water.
A resident of the community, Mr. Yomi Ogunsanya, told our reporter that he could not get home, adding that his wife, who was within Ajibode at the time of the rain, also could not sleep in their house.
Sunday Tribune learnt that those who could brave it had to go through Ologuneru, along Eruwa-Eleyele road, to come out of the community.

Police, student rescue woman in Apete At Apete area, a combined team of police and students of The Polytechnic, Ibadan were able to rescue a lady who had drowned.
It was also gathered from eyewitnesses that, at least, five vehicles  with unspecified number of passengers were submerged in the flood and they were yet to be rescued or their corpses found as of the time of writing this report. Some of the people who spoke with Sunday Tribune said  some members of the community were still missing, raising fear that the missing persons might have been washed away by the flood.

Foodstuff prices soarAs a result of the complete cut off of Apete from the rest of Ibadan, owing to the total colapse of the linking bridge, prices of foodstuff have been hiked by traders in Apete area because of the sudden panic buying by residents. Puqued by the development, students of The Polytecnic Ibadan, who constitute the bulk of the community, immediately issued a stern warning to traders in the area to stop the arbitrary increase in the prices of goods or face the wrath of the students.
When Sunday Tribune visited the area early yesterday, commercial  motorcycle riders, popularly called okada, were charging N500 per passengers in and out of Apete, while buses were charging N200. One of them told Sunday Tribune that the increament became necessary because of the distance they needed to cover before getting out of Apete.

Parts of Apata, Oluyole, Owode cut offAlso, communities, such as Apata, Oluyole, Owode Estate and others, were completely cut off other parts of the Ibadan metropolis as a result of the flood that overflowed bridges linking the communities.
The Odo Ona Bridge that links the area with Apata was completely overflowed by river, making the road impassable. The bridge linking 7UP area in Oluyole to Mobil area also collapsed and cars could been seen in the rivers.
A resident, who sent a distress text message to Sunday Tribune said: “As I speak now, we at Oluyole have been cut off. A bridge has been totally washed away. We never know  how to link Ring Road now. God dey sha, we go survive.”

Olubadan commiserate with residentsThe Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I, has commiserated with residents of Ibadan over the flood that ravaged the city on Friday.
The monarch, who expressed sadness over the heavy loss of lives and property caused by the massive flood that swept through the city, said the flood was unfortune.
The Olubadan, in a press release made available to Sunday Tribune, symphatised with the victims, especially families who lost people and property to the disaster.
He also prayed tha Almighty God grant the families of the departed the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses.
The traditional ruler, however, called on the Oyo State governor, Senator Isiaka Ajimobi, to give material and financial assistance to the victims of the flood, in order to alleviate their suffering, while appealing to the state government to intensify efforts to clear the drainages in the city.

Oyo deploys helicopter, relief materials to victims of floodingThe state governor, Senator Ajimobi, procured the services of an helicopter for the rescue of citizens and distribution of relief materials to all victims of the flooding havoc which swept round some key places in the state capital on Saturday.
The government also enlisted the support of the GOC, 2nd Mechanised Division, Major General Mubarak, for the provision of bailey bridges over the two rivers whose bridges were swept off at Apete and Olomi areas.
The governor, who ordered immediate procurement of the helicopter for an immediate rapid assessment of the affected areas and rescue of trapped victims of the flood, also ordered immediate setting up of two camps at the Apete and Odo Ona areas of the state capital for immediate palliative measures towards the flooding.
Governor Ajimobi also ordered immediate procurement of blankets, mattresses, drugs and food to all affected areas, so as to ensure that the suffering encountered by the people were brought to the barest minimum.

Governor cuts short Umrah
The governor, who immediately cut short his pilgrimage to Mecca for the lesser Hadj and immediately headed for the airport for the next available flight to Nigeria, said he learnt with great shock and sadness of the flood disaster and expressed sympathy to the families and victims of the disaster.
On learning of the disaster, Governor Ajimobi immediately directed the deputy governor of the state, Mr. Moses Alake Adeyemo, commissioners  and all local government chairmen of the affected areas to immediately begin a massive coordination of the rescue, assessment and palliative exercise aimed at providing succour for the victims of the flood.
The team, which immediately embarked on the assessment exercise, paid on-the-spot visits to the Eleiyele dam, the collapsed bridge at Apete, Ijokodo junction area, the collapsed bridge at Olomi, the Parliament road leading to Premier Hotel and the bridge at Odo Ona area of the state capital, where the deputy governor interviewed residents of the area on the disaster and their immediate needs.
The state government also immediately contacted all relevant state and federal agencies involved in rescue exercises, such as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) which officials were deployed on the state government-procured helicopter, as well as house-to-house visits, so as to feel the pulse of the victims, as well as ascertain the level of destruction occasioned by the flood.
Governor Ajimobi used the opportunity to express his sympathy to the victims of the destruction occasioned by the flood.
He promised that government would do all within its powers to prevent reoccurrence of sad incidences like the flooding, stating that flooding, like every natural disaster, was one of the dangers that man was incapable of predicting.
He said one of the plans that the government had was to continue with its massive drainage evacuation exercise which had already begun in all the roads of the state, as well as through clearing all water channels, removing all illegal structures blocking water channels and passageways and water right of way.

Akinjide condoles with Ibadan residents
The Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ms. Jumoke Akinjide, also commiserated with victims of the flood.
In a release made available to Sunday Tribune on Saturday, Akinjide, who is an indigene of Ibadan, said; “I, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, the Minister of State, FCT, use this medium to express my heartfelt condolences to the  Executive Governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and the good people of Oyo State, particular the families and friends of the  victims of the unfortunate flood that ravaged some parts of Ibadan yesterday in which, I was informed, valuable properties and lives were lost.
“I heard of the sad incident at a time we were brooding over another dastardly act of the bombing of the United Nations (UN) building in Abuja.
“The two grave occurrences at a time we are making concerted efforts to move our beloved country, Nigeria, forward are, indeed, regrettable and disconcerting.”

Vigil saves family
The Abioye family’s decision to attend a NASFAT vigil in the holy month of Ramadan has turned out to be the saving grace from a building collapse that would have claimed the lives of the entire family, following the flooding.
The family, which house is located very close to  the bridge in Save and Serve area, off Eleyele, were said to have left home a few minutes after 8:00 p.m. for the vigil, only  to return the following morning to meet their house pulled down by the flood.
Narrating the incident to Sunday Tribune, Mrs. Kafayat Abioye, said “we left home some minutes after 8:00pm for NAFSAT vigil day at Sango, Ibadan yesterday (Friday) when it was raining. Even though we noticed the flood already seeping into our house when we were leaving home, we thought it was the normal occurrence we usually experience whenever it rained hoping that it would dry out later. But surprisingly we returned this morning (Saturday) only to find our house reduced to rubble and the entire area taken over by water. The affected car wash over there is my husbands.”
Kafayat who sat near the scene of the incident with her children as well as friends and fellow residents that came to sympathise  with the family, looked every bit unruffled.
“Although we might have lost everything that we have laboured for all our lives, we are only grateful to God for sparing our lives,”she added.
The chairman of Onireke Local Government Area, Mr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, who came to the scene of the flood at 8:30 am on Saturday to ascertain the extent of damage spoke with Sunday Tribune on the incident.
“Actually, I got the information this morning and the first thing I did was to go round to the affected areas in my consistuency, that is my local government area. As the first citizen of this locality and representative of Governor Abiola Ajimobi in this area, I deemed it fit to assess the extent of damage caused. It’s really very devastative. We are also going to look at how to forestall such occurrence in the future,” he said.

NEMA deploys search and rescue officers
Meanwhile, the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, has directed special Search and Rescue officers to intervene in addressing “the worst and devastating flood that ravaged some structures and facilities including loss of lives in Ibadan Oyo State yesterday.”
The agency, through Yushau Shuaib,  claimed on Saturday that truck-loads of relief materials from NEMA would soon be delivered to some of the victims of the flood as most response agencies, including civil defence, fire service, military, Red Cross and volunteer groups are mobilised for the operation.
He noted that currently, NEMA and Oyo state officials were conducting on-the-spot assessment of situations in Ibadan.

Today, i want to ask, what would you do to serve your Country?

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