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Monday, November 29, 2021

How flood sacked Osun residents

By Fisayo Akinduro, Osogbo


Months after victims of the August 3, 2021 in Osogbo experienced horrendous flood, the capital city of Osun State, is yet to recover from the impact of the disaster.
The downpour, which lasted for three hours, started around 8pm on Tuesday lasted till around 11pm, wreaking havoc in the capital.
The Hope correspondent visited some of the affected areas at Obate and Akepe in Osogbo.
It was on a cold Thursday in September. Rain had fallen the previous day. The ground was still soggy; stagnant water was all over the place. Although it was not as disastrous as the earlier one in August, it kept residents of the areas on edge, sensing the impact of another wreckage.
From afar, some of the houses looked deserted. One could deduce that the occupants had vacated the area for a while.
Those who dared to stay behind have nowhere to go. Those who returned have to start from scratch. However, their gazes and words were filled with hope and optimism as they prayed and await possible permanent solutions to their plights.
Some residents of Obate who spoke with The Hope, revealed how the flood sacked them from their homes in Obate, forcing them to seek safety in other parts of the state capital.
A Kolanut seller, Mrs Bilikisu Mayomilegbe, said that she lost her goods, valued at about N200,000 to the flood.
According to Mrs Mayomilegbe, “we were just concerned about our lives, going out safe. Though properties and money were lost to the first rain that fell, we thank God for life. Our food items, everything was washed away.
“I had about N200,000 worth of Kolanuts which were to be sold, the rain washed away everything.
“After the previous downpour, we had to leave. We went to Sabo, Kasimo to stay with some acquaintances. We just came back, hoping that would be the end of it. But rain fell again. We are just glad it wasn’t as heavy as the previous one.”
Simbiat Muibi, an aged woman of about 75 years old who sells planks of wood could not give an estimate of the loss as the entire goods were washed away by the flood.
She said: “The first rain washed them away.
We can’t even calculate the amount that was destroyed. A lot of 2 by 3, 3 by 4 planks of wood were carried away. The rain destroyed a lot of things. It was the same rain that destroyed that adjacent building.
“If not for the fact that this house was built with quality materials, it would have been demolished. Many houses have crumbled due to this same downpour. The river is not close to this place, yet, water is destroying houses,” Mama Muibi added.
In a nearby house, the occupants had to sleep on the roof. The mattress could still be seen on the un-plastered roof.
Elizabeth Musiliu was carrying her 3-year-old son. While speaking, she revealed that the occupants of the house used to be fourteen, but now, just four.
“My son and I were hospitalised as a result of the flood disaster in August. We spent N17, 000 at the hospital. You can still see the traces of the initial flood. The water penetrated the house through the window.
“Fourteen of us used to live in this house. We are just 4 now. My father-in-law, my husband, my son and I. My other children are with some of my relatives.
“Yesterday, the rain had stopped falling already. We were about to sleep when the flood took over. We had to sleep on the roof. We climbed up with a ladder. You can see the roof. There’s no ceiling there. So, we could easily climb up the ladder. The mattress we slept on is still there.”
At Akepe area of Osogbo, two octogenarians, who live in the flood-prone zone, disclosed how some men from the neighbourhood had to carry them out of the house in August.
Two of their neighbours, who had come around to wash the debris left from the previous day’s rain also lent their voices to the discussion.
One of the octogenarians, Alhaja Amudat, pleaded for a lasting solution to the flood disaster. Her words: “We seek a solution to this disaster. That first rain damaged a lot of things. We could not sleep here for two days.
“The young men in the neighbourhood had to move us out of the house. We were carried out. If not for them, who knows what could have happened?
“Even when we came back here after two days, the water had not dried up. All our clothes were damaged. We spent almost two weeks washing clothes. A lot of properties were destroyed. Foodstuff, money, and many other things were washed away.”
Corroborating Alhaja’s story, Sanni Mutiat, one of the neighbours, said, “the previous downpour before this one killed one woman around here. She was known as Iya Rodo. It’s three months since it happened. The heavy rain killed her. She had to be dragged out from under her wardrobe.
“The rain was so heavy that it fell the wardrobe on the poor old woman. It seems she had drowned in the water already because she was a short woman. She couldn’t have survived it. The strong men around were only able to remove her corpse after so many efforts.
“If not for the guys that were around, that same rain would have killed these two old women. They could not even struggle anymore until those men carried them out.
“Yesterday, we were so frightened. We could not rest. We kept checking on the mamas to ensure that they were fine. I have been cleaning those rooms. We were just praying that this rain would not be as serious as the one in August.”
On his part, Olatunji Omotayo, found safety and a temporary shelter in his shop. His house was two houses away from the old woman, Iya Rodo, who was killed in the havoc.
Omotayo had just returned to check the storey building. He was clearing the surrounding bushes, with the intention to return to his shop until the coast is clear.
The house could comfortably house about thirteen tenants, but Omotayo and one other tenant, a meat seller, were the only occupants.
Through keen observation, it was discovered that about four houses in the area have been deserted. Omotayo also confirmed this.
“I have not been home for a month. I just arrived. I left the house for my shop after the first flood disaster. I decided to come and check the house due to this recent rain in case of any destruction.
“We are just two in this house. The previous owners have relocated to their new site. They told the other tenant and I to occupy the house and take care of it. Besides, the rain was becoming too much.
“Those who live in one of the nearby houses have packed out. They did after the first downpour killed an old woman in that house. It is better safe than sorry.
“Before the first rain in early August, I always returned home after leaving my shop. Some of my stuff here got spoilt in the rain. I have discarded them.
“I sleep and bath at my shop. Rain cannot be predicted. To avoid unfortunate events, I had to stay away for a while. I’m not even back fully. I only came to check the house. I will still return to my shop. Maybe until the rainy season is over,” he added.
Speaking on the recent flood, Head of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA Operation, covering Ekiti, Ondo and Osun States, Mr Olusegun Afolayan, sympathized with the people of Osun on the unfortunate incident.

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