Apprehension as flood, erosion displace over 1000 in Akwa Ibom communities

Apprehension as flood, erosion displace over 1000 in Akwa Ibom communities
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By Abel Benjamin, Uyo

As soon as the rains commences at any given year, Akwa Ibom residents, areas would become edgy, fearing that the flood would wreck havoc on them and as well displace them as it has always done over the years.

The flood situation in Akwa Ibom is prevailing in many communities and streets, without any special effect on those living in flood-prone areas.

More often than not, location doesn’t count as any heavy downpour, which is a usual occurrence in the state easily gets a community or street/road flooded.

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AljazirahNigeria observed that some areas in Uyo, the state capital, are already flooded and the people in those areas are already getting agitated. Those areas include: IBB Way by the Women Development Centre, Atiku Abubakar Way, part of Abak road, part of  Oron road, Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Ikpa road, Idiya Street, Edem community and Urua Ekpa road.

A resident of IBB way, Judith Imaobong, said the flood situation in parts of the state is unfortunate and has perennially affected the people in many ways.

She said apart from flowing into their houses and as well covering the roads, with its attendant consequence of making the roads unusable for vehicles and pedestrians, the flood also affects business activities and breeds health challenges in the affected areas.

“Akwa Ibom State flood, to me, is a seasonal occurrence which could be difficult to be effectively tackled. Once the rains commences, the flood is expected because of the high volume of rain that often fall in the state. Many streets are often flooded once there is a heavy downpour. In some areas, the water flows away immediately the rain stops, but in other areas the water stays longer, either due to the nature of the place that makes it difficult for water to flow out or that there are poor drainage systems there.

“Nevertheless, the flood situation in parts of Akwa Ibom state is unfortunate. It is a perennial occurrence that affects the people in many ways. Apart from flowing into people’s houses and as well covering the roads, thereby making the roads unusable for vehicles and pedestrians, the flood also affects business activities and breeds health challenges in the affected areas. There are several other problems caused by the flood that are too numerous to mention,” Imaobong said.

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She stressed that there are other other areas/community that are permanently flooded one the rains commences heavily, and until the end of the rainy season.

AljazirahNigeria gathered that one of such communities where they are permanently flooded is Urua Ekpa community in Itu Local Government Area of the state.

Our correspondent who went to Urua Ekpa observed that most of the houses along the road have been vacated as their occupants have been sacked by the flood. Many compounds have stagnant water all over, and many of the houses are dilapidated.

An elderly man in the community, Kufre Ubong said over 1000 people have been displaced by the flood in the community so far, adding that the flood in the community has lasted longer than that of any other place in the state and even beyond.

Asked what the people or government has done have done about it, he said several letters have been written to the relevant government agencies to come to their rescue but till date the letters were yet to yield any tangible result.

On the impact of the flood, he said there were too numerous to mention, pointing out that almost all the associative negative impact of a flood have been experienced by them, except that they have not really had loss of lives except on one or two occasions.

Even if it were the loss of properties, destruction of buildings and disruption of commercial/agricultural activities alone, they could be said to have been terribly hit by the flood, Ubong added.

A tricycle rider who identified himself by only his first name, Raphael, said the flood in Urua Ekpa has been damaging all their tricycles, they that ply the road.

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He said initially they had no choice but to ply the road when conveying passengers from plaza to Urua Ekpa junction and vice versa, but that since the Ikpa road by CCT junction was recently repaired, most of them preferred to use that road except there is an absolute necessity to pass through the flooded road.

Their (tricycles operators) boycott of the flooded road in Urua Ekpa, Raphael said, has added to the plight of the people along that road because they hardly get tricycle from or to Plaza and had to trek most of the time.

Meanwhile, erosion and ravines have  also been wrecking havoc on the people. However, the government has endeavoured to tackle some of the deep ravines over the years. Examples of such ravines are the ones along Udo street which linked to University of Uyo town campus, and the one off Calabar-Itu highway by Ibiaku Itam.

But some erosion have worsened, while others have freshly occurred due to the heavy down pour. A fresh erosion along Hospital Road in Abak local government area of the state is a case in point.

It was gathered that as a result of the erosion, Manta Abak and Ukpom communities have been cut off from the other part of Abak town, while students of Esteem Schools and other Schools have also been badly affected.

The Executive Director  Community Policing Partners (COMPPART), Saviour Akpan, blamed the cause of the erosion on poor maintenance culture.

“The cause of the erosion along Hospital Road in Abak local government area of Akwa Ibom State is due to negligence and poor maintenance culture of government. Its impact is that the people of Manta Abak and Ukpom have been cut off from the other part of Abak town and this has hitherto affected students of Esteem Schools and other Schools. I don’t know if the state Government would have money to  work it because they always say there is no money,” he said.

Akpan called on the government to do all it could to fix the erosion because it is already taking its toll on the people and that things would worsen shortly if nothing was done.

Reacting to the disaster, the Akwa Ibom State Government has announced the immediate shutdown of the Hospital Road for urgent intervention and rehabilitation.

Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang-Eyen who visited the scene said Governor Udom Emmanuel is worried at the extent of damage as well as the threat it posses to the inhabitants of the area.

‎He blamed the collapse on poor drainage system, adding that Governor Udom Emmanuel has directed that no road constructed under his watch will be done without proper drainage system.

The Commissioner said contractors will be mobilized to site at once to commence work on the road and quickly get it back to use.

He advised the road users to take alternative routes until the repair was completed.

Meanwhile, in his recent reaction to the flood and other pertinent disasters in the state, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Udom Emmanuel, Ekerete Udoh, said the state government is doing all it could to address any flood disaster and related matters in the state.

According to him, the government had a robust development agenda for the state and that natural disasters like flood was also in the plan.

Udoh said the development plan was already manifesting in many areas of the state.




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