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Abuja: Kubwa residents shiver as rain comes full circle

Last year’s exceptionally heavy rains, which lasted about three days, swept away farm lands while the flood waters also destroyed a good number of homes,…

Last year’s exceptionally heavy rains, which lasted about three days, swept away farm lands while the flood waters also destroyed a good number of homes, washed away crops and depleted livestock and other household assets, leaving a lot of families homeless.

As the months of July and August approach, some of the residents of Kubwa have began expressing fears and anxiety over the possibility of an encore of last year’s flooding, as they claim nothing tangible has been done to correct the environmental factors that assist the flooding.

Alhaji Yunusa Adamu, a resident of Phase 4 said: “Sincerely, we are quite scared. Anybody who witnessed what happened last year must be. If not for the mercy of God, a lot of families would have been forgotten by now. Water got into homes, up to window level. We were expecting government to do something about the situation but up till this moment, nothing has been done and it is getting to the dreaded part of the year. In fact, in matter of weeks or so, the same heavy rains that caused the flood will begin.’’

He continued: “As a small community, especially who were worst-hit during the incident and also the potential victims when it occurs again, have started making concerted efforts to see if something can be done to preempt the situation before it commences. We have started by visiting some river channels, banks and tributaries to examine them as part of our community efforts to prevent flood in our area.”

Adamu also called on the FCT authority and the Bwari Area Council, to come to their rescue by bringing out their expertise and machinery to open the river channels, remove debris and clear drainages along the flood-prone areas to avert the impending danger. “We have identified the problems but since we are deficient in resource expertise, we therefore, urge the FCT administration to expedite action to handle the situation”.

“When it happened last year, most of the residents were caught napping by the flood. They had no foreknowledge of the magnitude of the disaster that was lurking around the corner until the three-day downpour came and swept away many houses. We have thus learnt from our mistakes as a community.”

Johnny Ogbu, another resident of Phase 3, a neibourhood that was also affected during last year’s flood, said since then, many residents have moved out of the area. He said he is also thinking of moving out by the end of the month when his rent would have expired. He told Weekly Trust that even people who were living in their personal houses around the flood-prone areas have moved out and rented the apartments to unsuspecting home-seekers.

“I know a lot of people who rented out their houses out and used the money to rent another place elsewhere. If only you were here to witness the havoc the flood caused last year, it has never been that bad. That was the worst we have ever witnessed. I could remember during el-Rufai’s tenure, there was also a flood but not of that magnitude. Anybody who has the means and cherishes his family will have to look for an alternative. You cannot expose your household to this sort of danger. I tell you, when that one happened last year, I had to move my family to a friend’s place inside Kubwa village.’’

He added: “You cannot sleep in such a situation. I had wanted to move out but I could not because there was nobody to re-pay me part of my rent, so I just decided to be a bit patient and wait for the remaining rent to expire.’’ But Weekly Trust observed that one of the things that caused the Kubwa flood  last year is the indiscriminate dumping of refuse by some waste cart pushers  also known as ‘Yan Bola’ which is still being carried out.

Even though the waste cart pushers assist to dispose waste, the indiscriminate dumping has made their activities to constitute a minus instead of a plus. The effect of the smell also constitutes a health hazard to people living around the dump site. The dangers of living in such areas are vast. Apart from the fear of a fire outbreak by spontaneous combustion, flooding poses another grave danger, especially when waste is dumped to block drainages and canals.

However, at the end of the day, the flood water contaminates wells and other sources of drinking water. This is exactly the scenario around some areas of Kubwa. For instance, the bilateral blockade that enhances the tendency of flood and other environmental degradation as observed by Weekly Trust. According to Mr.  Femi Ayila, an Abuja based engineer/facility manager, “As long as the canals and other tertiary drainages are not well-taken-care-of day-in, day-out, we will continue to suffer flood problems,” he said.

“There is a difference between flooding and flash flood. When rain falls, there is bound to be water and the amount of water depends on the magnitude of the rain. But what we aspire to do is to see that the water must not be stagnant, it must flow away. As you can see, this is a problem associated with planning, and since the road level is higher than the ground level, there is no way there will be no flood in this kind of place,” Ayila noted. But, still, Kubwa residents wait for succor, but with bated breath.

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