The Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said that at least 510 people were rendered homeless during two days torrential rain that also destroyed about 70 houses and farmlands in different parts of the state.
Mr Princewill Ayim, Acting Director General of the agency, said this on Friday, July 5, 2019 in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar, the state capital.
Ayim said that the heavy downpour on Wednesday and Thursday destroyed property valued at several millions of naira.
The SEMA boss visited Calabar South, Calabar Municipality, Boki, Biase, Odukpani and Etung to ascertain the extent of damage caused by the disaster.
He thanked God that no life was lost, pointing out that most of the affected houses were erected along the waterways.
He said that the agency carried out aggressive campaign before the rain set in to advise residents living along water channels to relocate upland.
Ayim said: “The affected residents have been relocated temporarily from their homes for safety and to avoid the outbreak of communicable diseases from the flood.
“From our assessment tour, we recorded over 70 houses that were destroyed by the flood across the state and at least 510 displaced persons.
“Gov. Ben Ayade is taking steps to open more channels to ensure the free flow of water within Calabar metropolis and beyond.
“I want to appeal to the Federal Government and the National Emergency Management Agency and other relevant government agencies to intervene by providing relief materials and succour to the victims.’’
He said that the agency was working with the state Ministry of Health to ensure that the victims did not contract any diseases from the flood.
Mr Patrick Asikpo-Okon, a victim at Ibom Close in Calabar Municipality, where over 10 houses were destroyed, said that he lost his credentials and other valuables to the flood.
“The heavy rain of Wednesday and Thursday wreaked havoc in the whole of this street.
“I lost my valuables because I was trying to rescue my little children from being swept away by the flood.
“I thank God that we are alive today. I moved my family into a hotel because my house is not comfortable for now.
“For years now, we have been crying to government to come to our aid and open the channels for free flow of water but no response,’’ Asikpo-Okon lamented.
Another victim, Mr Alfred Odey, resident at the Cross River University of Technology quarters in Calabar South, told NAN that the rain displaced his family, forcing him to park out from the campus.
In Boki Local Government Area, Mr Benjamin Abang, said that the flood destroyed his cocoa plantation which, according to him, is his only viable means of livelihood.
He appealed to the federal and state governments to assist him financially to enable him to purchase more cocoa nursery to plant in a safer area.
By George Odok