The first rain of the year in Ezira community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra almost submerged the community as it wreaked havoc.
The Chairman of Ubaha village, Mr Jude Umunnakwe told newsmen in Ezira on Tuesday that the first rain, which was heavy wreaked havoc in the community.
Umunnakwe said the people most affected were of Ubaha Ezira community and environs, especially those living along and around Ezira Umuomaku-Enugu Umuonyia road, but youths rose to the occasion to save lives.
He explained that the rain was so heavy that the flood pulled down fences and entered into many homes, destroying their valuables and rendered many homeless.
According to him, when the incident happened, the youths of Ezira and environs were promptly organised to do the evacuation work in the affected houses all night and way into the morning.
”They evacuated the sick, children and aged to unaffected homesteads to pass the night,” he said.
Umunnakwe said that he had spearheaded the building of a drainage in the community to control flood but alleged that the Arab Contractors working in the community blocked it without providing an alternative.
He explained that the contractor was building the Ezira-Umuomaku-Achina road for the state government during which it disrupted the drainage put in place by the community.
Umunnakwe alleged that the contractors could not complete up to half a kilometer of drainage and appealed to the state government to hasten the contractors to complete the job.
According to him, the company first blocked the gutter we had constructed locally as a community.
”The contractor should have completed a standard drainage along the road to channel the flood for the safety of the community from flood disaster,” he said.
Umunnakwe also said that if the contractor could not, it should quit so the community could return to status quo to avoid another flood from wreaking havoc in the community.
One of the victims, Mr Ozoemena Ikwukeme said that around 5p.m on Monday, a down pour began and gave rise to flood which pulled down his wall, destroying his property.
Among the property destroyed were more than 30 bags of rice he recently harvested and all his documents and those of his family members.
“I am a large scale farmer as well as a staff in the Works Department of Orumba South local government and my documents are lost forever.
“All the certificates of my wife and my kids’ are lost. So are my efforts for the season. I am devastated,” Ikwukeme said in tears.
Another victim, Emmanuel Onyeleme, 78, observed that the occurrence was the first of its kind and had destroyed his property.
He also lamented that he and his family were yet to eat because they neither had a place to make fire for food nor food items to prepare.
He called on the government and other concerned citizens to come to their aid.
“We now live like refugees in our hometown.
“Government should take responsibility for this because they contracted this Arab Contractors who were doing a shoddy job that led to the catastrophe.
”They should construct a proper gutter along this road so that subsequent rains would not submerge us completely. And they should pay me for these damages,” he said.
Mr Emma Nwakuba, another Ubaha Ezira indigene whose wall was pulled down by the flood was furious at the contractors for aiding such disaster in their community.
Chief Edison Umeh, the President General of Ezira Improvement Union was also present at the scene to inspect the extent of damage.
He told newsmen that he could not enter his compound during the incident because of the flood and had to sleep in a hotel till the next day.
Umeh appealed to the government to speed up the work, saying that more rainfalls might pull down houses in the community.
He said that though they were yet to get a statistic of the damage, he has seen many homes devastated by the flood.
Mr Williams Umeh, Director, Social Development and Information in Orumba South Local Government and Public Relations Officer of Ezira Improvement Union described the incident as pathetic.
He said that a lot of damage was done and that Ezira was an erosion prone area that demanded serious attention from the government.
In his reaction, an official of Arab Contractors who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the construction company was building the gutter according to the specifications given to it by Anambra State Ministry of Works.
The state Commissioner for Works, Mr Lawrence Chinwuba when contacted by NAN said he was not aware of the incident.
He, however, said that he would summon the Arab Contractors to know exactly what happened.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ezira is an agro-based community in Orumba South Local Government Area, known for rice, cassava, yam, Okro, vegetables and palm oil production.(NAN)