By Suzan Edeh
JUST when residents of Bauchi State were anxiously awaiting the rainy season to enjoy the blessings that it brings, the rain came in a storm that jolted them into panic and tears as it left death in its wake with property worth millions of naira destroyed.
Precisely on June 16, 2018, the clouds began to gather to the delight of many residents, particularly farmers because the rain had not fallen for some time. But what happened when the rain began to fall shocked them: it ended up wreaking a massive havoc they are yet to recover from.
The rain initialy started with little droplets and stopped. Some 30 minutes after, the heavens began to thunder followed by violent wind. Suddenly, the pregnant cloud unleashed the rain and it fell with such torrent that uprooted many trees, some of which fell on cars, buildings and shops, thereby causing destruction of valuable property in the process. It also pulled down electricity poles, roofs of houses, schools, offices and business centres in the state.
Apart from the destruction of infrastructure, many families lost thier loved ones while others were rendered homeless.
The rain which started around 5.00pm that fateful day, lasted for two hours and caused flooding in some parts of Bauchi metropolis such as Bakin Kura, Railway, Turum, Kobi streets and Miri, a development that led to traffic congestion. Other areas affected by the downpour were Federal Low Cost, Yelwa Kagadama, Yakubu Wanna street and Fadamada.
When Vanguard Spotlight visited areas affected by the rainstorm, it was indeed a pathetic sight as many occupants were seen removing their property from their rain soaked houses while others were carrying out repairs.
In Turum community in Bauchi local government, it was gathered that the rain killed two persons. A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity told Vanguard Spotlight that casualties were recorded in the area, adding that one person was hit by a tree while another died when a building fell on him.
“A man, who is yet to be identified, was hit by a very big tree uprooted by the rainstorm. People in the area did not even know what happened until the rain was over. They discovered the body of a young man with a tree on top of him. It was a very pathetic sight.
“The other person died when his house fell on him. His body was discovered when residents of the area were searching for their loved ones and repairing the damage caused by the rainstorm,” he informed.
Another resident of G.R.A, Deaconess Maureen Charles, said that the rainstorm blew off the entire roof of her neighbour’s house, with her parlour flooded while the other rooms in her house were not affected.
“When I got to the house after the heavy downpour, I noticed that I was literally walking on water in the parlour. My cushions were soaked with water, the centre rug and the curtains were all soaked with water. I thank God that the water did not affect the other rooms in the house,” she added.
Power cut everywhere
The rainstorm also led to a cut of power supply as it destroyed electricity transformers and cables. Many areas of Bauchi metropolis are still suffering power outage due to the damage caused by the rainstorm. Some residents of Yelwa community said they have equally been hit by water scarcity as the there is no light to power some of the electric boleholes that supply water.
The Bauchi Regional Director of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Hafiz Sale Hassan, told newsmen that the rainstorm affected 300 electricity poles. The regional director who was represented by the Technical Director of the company, Abdullahi Hussaini, an engineer, said that apart from electric poles, other equipment like armoured and aluminum cables, insulators, communication masts among others, were badly affected by the windstorm.
He said: “My office is currently preparing a report which will be sent to the national headquarters of the company for further executive management attention and necessary action.”
Red cross and government intervention
The Bauchi State communication coordinator of the Red Cross, Hajia Asma’u Tijjani Umar, said the level of devastation brought about by the rain was alarming, noting that immediately after the incident, the society swung into action to give first aid to the affected people and communities in the state capital.
The Red Cross official called on the affected people to give out information to relevant organisations to enable them compile the losses incurred in the disaster.
In another development, the Bauchi State government has sympathized with victims of the windstorm, especially those who lost their loved ones and property. Governor Mohammed Abubakar who was accompanied by the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu and other top government officials carried out an on-the-spot assessment in some of the areas affected by the windstorm.
Some of the areas visited by the governor include Kobi Street, Bauchi State Television Authority, BATV, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Railway road, Turum and Barkin Kura streets.
The governor sympathized with the victims in the affected communities and urged them to see the incident as the act of God. “The aim of this visit is to assess the extent of damage as a result of the disaster. My administration will do its best to assist those affected by the incident,” he said.