Lamentations of flood victims in Delta
By Emma Amaize & Akpokona Omafuaire
WARRI—IT was a continuation of anguish for flood victims in Delta State, weekend, as more communities went under water, while villagers took refuge in the bush to escape the fury of flood.
Among the communities were Asaba-Ase, Abari, Ekregbesi, Uzere communities of Ndokwa East, Patani and Isoko-South Council Areas of Delta State.
Narrating his ordeal, an octogenarian, Elder Frank Aketi said: “Every year, the flood starts at this time, but this year’s own came to everybody by surprise and it is embarrassing and you can see that the whole community is flooded since I was born I have never seen this type of flood. I am now a refugee in my own country.
Loss of all belongings
On her part, 80-year-old Mama Atatorezi from Ikpidhe-Irri community who sat dejected by a farmland said, “I am now like a bird that does not have a home, this flood is terrible, I lost my house and all my belongings, what am I living for.?”
Several hundred hungry and dejected looking displaced persons were seen stranded on Uzere/Ase road, as Vanguard boarded a boat to Asaba-Ase and Abari. Asaba-Ase, which is 12-kilometres from Uzere could hitherto be reached by road, but on this day, it was totally submerge and any visitor would have to board a boat at Uzere before getting to the community.
Abari community, maternal home of the Minister for Petroleum was a mini ocean when Vanguard arrived the scene.
Pathetic could best describe the situation, as the displaced persons were seen packed together in the storey building owned by the grandfather of the minister. There was no means of escape.
Mrs. Frank Akpeti, a displaced person at Abari said, “We are hopeful that help will come, the Deputy Governor arrived here before the flood got worst, we cannot go away from here now, where do I go from my home, I will stay up here till help comes.”
Mr. Lawrence Aketi who took Vanguard round the areas said, “ “I do not know what the government is doing about this because they only came here to the communities and told us to move out, but we do not see anything that they are doing to give relief materials to aid them or transport to support them.
The community people are using their hard earned money to evacuate themselves.
“This is a major disaster because it has never happened in the history of the Niger Delta and we are surprised at it. This is an international issue”, he added.
Former chairman of Abari community, Mr. Francis Seibido asserted, “Right now, there is no good water for us to drink in this community. We drink the water that you are seeing and you know it is unhealthy for us. We need drugs. The only transformer we have has been submerged in the water and right now we do not have light.”
A businesswoman, Victoria Daniels noted, “Today, a basket of garri is sold for one thousand naira and we do not know how much they are going to sell it for us tomorrow. I am from Oleh and the flood is now coming to my area. Foodstuff is expensive now because there is no food anywhere and we do not have money to buy food. It is true that government has warned us earlier but we did not know that it is going to be like this. Right now, we are very hungry here. The government should come to our aid because we are suffering”.
John Ogheneriye, added, “I am from Asaba- Ase and I am here because the whole of Asaba- Ase has been flooded. The situation in Asaba Ase is very critical because as we are talking right now there is nobody in Asaba Ase. Some were evacuated to Kwale, while some have gone back to their various communities in Isoko South and North.
His words: “And right now, Isoko South is already flooded and we do not know where they are going to go from here. All of us here are very hungry. Even I that is talking to you I have not had my breakfast since morning. I ate last yesterday by 8.00 pm”.
“What I want the government to do is to send people, especially from our representative from the House of Representatives and the Senate to come and help us with relief materials so that they can manage for now because nobody knows what will happen in 2013. Right now, there is no food anywhere,” he stated.
According to him, “Personally I was among the people that were selected to come and rescue Asaba Ase, Iwelle, Igboko, Iberemi, Ivrogbo.
When I got there, I met the auditor general of the state that, he was the only man that was discussing with me and doing his best to rescue people. The man from the House of Representatives was called and he said he was coming, but up till now we have not seen him”.
“He has abandoned us to our fate. Apart from the auditor general, I did not see anybody there. In Asaba Ase, all the houses have been submerged in water and there is nowhere that is not flooded. As I am here now I am just like a bird and I do not know where to perch,” he said.
Another displaced person, Dominic Egelibe from Irri said, “I am a civil servant. Right now, my house is collapsing and I have no where to go. The name of my community is Ekregbesi but I work as a security man here in Irri. I am working at the Ministry of Education. I am 35 years.”