Cross River Flood: One Dead, Three Missing, Two Hospitalised
CALABAR, August 09, (THEWILL) – A seven-year-old child lost her life while three others between the ages of seven and 13 have been declared missing, following a flood that hit the usually peaceful community of Umon Island in Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The flood, occasioned by the sudden overflow of the Cross River at the Umon axis, ravaged the community with a sudden surge, creating panic and pandemonium.
A 53-year-old woman and a 78-year-old man, currently receiving treatment at the Community Health Centre, Umon narrowly escaped death when their residential houses collapsed on them. Although they sustained serious injuries, they were quickly rescued by vigilant youths.
The missing children feared drowned in their houses and apparently washed into the river are yet to be found despite frantic searches by villagers.
Family members of the late girl were yet to fully absorb the shock, as they were seen mourning by her graveside.
“The late girl was not only beautiful and charming but intelligent and humble. We have lost a generation in the family,” mourned Fabian Ogbor a youth in the community.
At the first count, 40 houses were in water, displacing about 1,500 persons, some of whom were squatting in the primary school and other surviving houses.
Over 70 per cent of the entire village, with a population of 6,000, has been flooded, encumbering movement between houses, which is now done either by wading through the water at waist level or with the use of canoes.
“The flood is not showing any sign of abating and we are afraid of what next would happen should the water increase beyond its present level,” said Chief Elder Okon Nya Aniyom, 78. He recalled that two previous incidences in 1971 and 1991 were less severe than the current case.
Assessing the disaster, director general, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Vincent Aquah described the scenario as pathetic, attributing the flood to global climate change.
Represented by the assistant director in charge of information in the agency, Mr. David Akate, he sympathised with victims of the deceased and the displaced persons. He also assured that details of the calamities faced by members of the community would be communicated to the governor for action.
Also visiting the flooded community, member of the Cross River State House of Assembly for Biase, Hon. Igim Okpo said his visit was to see things for himself and make appropriate recommendations in line with his statutory mandate. He said it was saddening that the Umon Island, with all its economic potentials, was being viciously ravaged by flood.
Vice Chairman of Biase, Hon. Uka Bassey Obo promised that the local government would remain steadfast in soliciting help from both the state and the federal governments.
Umon Island is surrounded by the Cross River and has always been prone to flooding, which has reduced the vast island by about a quarter from all sides.
Due to the latest disaster, the people are finding it extremely difficult to feed or drink potable water, as all their water sources had been polluted by the muddy water and food crops washed away by the raging flood.