Port Harcourt — Flood is taking its toll on many communities across several local government areas of Rivers State after continual rain fall in the last one week.
The LGAs mostly affected are, Ahoada West, Ahoada East, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Andoni, Port Harcourt City, Obio Akpor, Oyigbo, Akuku-toru, Abua Odua and Ikwerre.
At Igwurita in Ikwerre Local Government Area, the flood submerged nine villages that make up the community.
Many houses including that of the lawmaker representing Ikwerre Federal Constituency, Barrister Boniface Emerengwa, were submerged by the flood thereby displacing many people.
A resident of the area, Gilbert Orlu, who said the flood affected the nine villages that made up Igwurita community, added that properties and food crops worth millions of naira were destroyed and over 300 persons displaced.
He said those affected by the devastating impact of the flood are counting their losses while the state government is yet to come to their aid.
Another resident, John Kono, said all his properties, from electronics, beddings and furniture were washed away by the flood. "We are in pain and still counting our losses," he said.
"We are just managing to cope with the situation we found ourselves. It's really bad and we are calling on the state government to come to our aid. The affected residents are crying, the poor masses are crying. We really need help," he said.
Another victim, Pius Chukwu said: "Everywhere in Igwurita is flooded. It's not just my own property but other residents too are affected. Properties worth millions of naira have been damaged. Farms, business premises were flooded and properties destroyed."
The residents however attributed the flood to poor drainage system in the communities saying that water is not properly channeled.
The Councilor representing Igwurita Ward 9 in Ikwerre Local Government Area, Hon. Chindah Wali, said arrangement has been concluded to move the victims of the flood to an IDP camp in the area.
Also in Ahoada West, hundreds of residents were displaced and farm crops and valuable properties washed away by flood.
A resident of one of the flooded communities in Ahoada West, Okpokiri Michael, said many buildings were submerged by flood and the affected residents are still counting their losses.
"This year's flood caused lots of damage to residents. Many of the residents have no place to put their heads. Houses, schools and farmlands were submerged and hundreds of residents displaced.
"Most of the displaced persons have been moved to the IDP camps while others are staying with relations in areas not affected by flood. We are helpless as we have lost all our belongings. We want NEMA and the state government to assist us," he said.
At Omoku, Ndoni and other rural communities of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state, the story is not different as residents were sacked by flood while properties worth millions of naira were destroyed.
The residents of Eneka, Atani, Nkpolu, Rumuodomaya, Ngboba and the popular NTA road in Obio Akpor Local Government Area are not left out.
The case is the same in Oyigbo as residents of Old Aba/Port Harcourt relate the pathetic story of the destruction of some poultry farms and fish ponds located in area.
A resident, Matar Okere said: "We woke up one morning after a torrential rain to find out that our house has been submerged by flood. I hurriedly carried two of my children out of the compound.
"The whole properties in the house were destroyed. Mine is a double tragedy as my poultry farm was washed off by the flood. I lost over 500 birds."
Another resident who did not disclose his identity said he lost more than 1000 fishes in his pond and blamed the incident on the ongoing construction of Aba/Port Harcourt road.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Environment recently invited chairmen of local government affected by flood to explain the level of their preparedness to the forecast by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) which listed 18 LGAs in Rivers State as flood prone areas.
Chairman of the committee, Dumle Maol, said the invite is for the affected chairmen to explain measures taken so far to tackle flooding in their respective local government councils.
In response, the Chairman of Ahoada, Hope Ikiriko, said the council has prepared four camps to accommodate the flood victims.
He however lamented that most of the internally displaced persons from flood affected communities in the Local Government refused to stay in the camps for fear of insecurity and contacting disease.
He also disclosed that the IDP camps, which are mostly situated in schools, are most times invaded by strangers displaced by flood from neighboring states.
According to him, the council spent N7million in buying mattresses last year but they were stolen.
He appealed to both the state and federal governments to come to their aid.
On his part,chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, Victor Ihunwo, said he has secured two storey buildings opposite the Mile 3 park in Port Harcourt that would accommodate displaced persons.
Also, the Local Government chairmen of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Abua/Odual, Eleme, Asari Toru and Ahoada East who appeared before the committee gave insight on their level of preparedness to ameliorate the plight of those affected by the flood.
In the meantime the South- South zonal office of NEMA said it is doing everything possible to inform and educate residents about the danger of living in flood prone areas.