December 6, 2023

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Flood Sacks Scores In Calabar

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Scores of residents of the Archibong Eta Street, behind CRUTECH Staff Quarters, Calabar are now homeless as a result of heavy flooding which has forced them to flee their homes and take refuge in other parts of the state.
Some residents of the community who spoke with TNN said property worth millions of naira have been destroyed by the flood caused by a blocked drainage system channel through the community to Atimbo River.
“The problem we are having here is not man-made. Government dug the channel through this place extensively to Atimbo River, but have neglected it. They channelled all the waters in Calabar and left it here to flow into people’s houses.
“If you get to the gutter there, you will see that it is totally blocked; you can walk across it for a distance of not less than two kilometres; you can walk across what used to be the gutter because it is totally filled with rubbish. So, water coming now to this our habitation becomes its destination, said Mr Stephen Akpan, one of the residents.
He further lamented that the flood has rendered most of them homeless, destroyed their crops and claim lives. “It has driven people out of their houses. A lot of the people living here are now buying land to build elsewhere and those of us who do not have such plans, we are at the mercy of the state government to please resume what they used to do.
“Last year, corpses were discovered there, about three of them. Our crops all damaged. So we are begging government to open the channel each time it is blocked, and let the water pass and even extend the channel to the river itself and reconstruct all fallen ones because the gutters have collapsed in many places.
He said all efforts to reach out to government had proved abortive. “As far back as 2012 when I parked in here, the gutter was being cleared every year by the government, but since 2015 December, after Governor Ayade was sworn in that we sent him a congratulatory message, drawing his attention to the situation of things over here, nothing came out of it.
“We went to the state ministry of environment and tried to see the commissioner. I think what they did was prevent us from seeing anybody that could be of help to us. We were hurriedly taken out of his office by one engineer who told us that where we are living is not supposed to be a place where humans should live. We argued with him that if this place is not habitable, how come we drove in our cars, and built houses here? So this place is habitable because we share boundary with CRUTECH, and UNICAL, and those are habitable areas.
CRUTECH staff quarters is no longer habitable, not because it wasn’t built to be habitable, but the water that comes here has overwhelmed everywhere and we have suffered a lot of losses.”
Meanwhile, head of community, His Royal Highness Edet Obo on his part has called on state government to live up to its responsibility and save his people from suffering.
He said “we have been trying to see how we can help ourselves since we don’t have government support, but in the real sense, that drainage is not a community work; it is government’s responsibility to remove dirty from it.
“The water and the dirty you see here are all from both Calabar South and Municipality, which means we house all the waters in the state channelled through this community to Atimbo River, which is disastrous. About three years ago, the community contributed money to drain out those dirty things.
“It was possible that time because we had people residing in the area, but right now, a lot of them have vacated the area. The place is filled again and we have nowhere to source for such money except to turn to the government for help, we need help.”

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