15 Dead in Ongoing Flooding in Southern Nigeria

Flooding caused by ongoing heavy rains across southern Nigeria caused at least 15 fatalities in the last week of June 2014.

Heavy rains on 28 and 29 June affected Oyo State in southwestern Nigeria, where at least ten people drowned when a makeshift bridge in the Apete area of Ibadan suddenly collapsed into floodwaters. Several people were rescued from the overflowing river by onlookers. The original bridge linking the Ijokodo community to the Apete area collapsed during flooding in August 2011 and a temporary bridge was erected in the interim. Following last week’s drownings resulting from the collapse of the wooden pillars supporting the temporary bridge, street protests were held by locals angry at the slow pace of reconstruction.

Prof. Joseph Olowofela, Caretaker Chairman of Ido Local Government, described the incident as unfortunate, adding that the state government is funding the contract to construct a new bridge, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Another five people, including three children, have died in flooding near the Olodo River. They were sheltering in a church building when it was submerged by floodwaters. It was reported on 30 June that one body had been recovered so far.

Meanwhile, in Calabar, capital of Cross Rivers State in the southeast of Nigeria, last week’s heavy rains and resulting flooding are reported to have caused the collapse of 60 homes and public facilities in the areas of Ikot Ansa, Ikot Eneobong, Ikot Nkebre and Big Qua Town, as well as parts of Calabar South.

The Deputy Director of Information of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, David Akate, said in a statement that the flooding was “attributed to the blockage of drains and other water ways as well as the construction of buildings along flood-prone areas.”

The statement quoted SEMA Director-General Vincent Aquah as advising motorists to stay clear of flooded roads and warning parents not to allow children to play around flooded drainage infrastructure and areas of ponding water, and exhorting residents to adhere to the campaign against indiscriminate waste disposal.

Sources: News 24; Premium Times; Vanguard Nigeria