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100 People lose their lives in Oyo State over Flood
Oyo State could be one of the states that are likely to experience flooding, residents in the State always scamper for safety whenever the cloud gathers in preparation for another rain.
Their fears are understandable considering the enormity of the loss of lives and property that greeted the August 26 Flood disaster and the one that occurred some months ago where five People were feared dead.
But, the Governor Abiola Ajimobi led administration has, no doubt, taken some proactive measures to prevent further loss of lives and property. Besides, the evacuation and rescue of victims all over the affected Areas and establishment of Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDPs’) at Abbey Technical Odo-Ona Elewe, and Sacred-Heart Primary School Oke-Ayo at Oluyole Estate, the Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo said relief materials were given to over 10,000 People affected by the flood.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that over 100 lives were lost, while over 100 billion Naira worth of property damaged. To ensure that the effects of the Flood disaster was reduced, government set up a panel to look into the overt and covert causes of the flood, with a view to recommending appropriate solutions.
Factors, which were listed as causes of flooding in the State last year and this year are natural and Anthropogenic in nature: These, according to the findings of the State government, are heavy downpour of 187.5mm that falls for 7.5 hours; indiscriminate dumping of refuse into drainages; climate change and effects of global warning.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard about the actions taken so far by the government, the Director, Engineer Kayode Adepoju said the Flood washed away several roads and bridges According to him, the drainages and roads were washed away as a result of poor quality of construction done by the last administration in the state.
The areas flooded include Onipepeye, Odo-Ona elewe, Odo Ona Apata, Nihort, Ijokodo, Sango, Apete, Ajibode, Orogun, Agbowo, old Bodija, Ikolaba, Ibadan Polytechnic, Fatusi Ogbere, Olodo Kumapayi, University of Ibadan, Eleyele Waterworks and Oluyole Estate.
He said bridges, roads and culverts that were washed away by the Flood in places like Agbongbon Bridge, Simeon Adebo\Davies Hotel/Blessed Water Road, Simeon Adebo/Adeyi, Awolowo Road, Orita Aperin/Omowumi/Olorunsogo Bridge, Failed portion opposite Orogun Junction, along U.I/Ojoo Road, Mokola/Cele/Barrack Junction Road/Bridge, Salami Estate/Bodija Road, Ona River at Olubadan Avenue, Oluyole Estate are presently being repaired.
He said unless residents of the State keep some rules and regulations on clean environment, if there is heavy rain, flooding cannot be ruled out. To prevent another Flood disaster, the Oyo State Environmental Management Agency (OYSEMA) is relentlessly embarking on sensitization and advocacy programmes, even to all the 33 LGAs of the State. The Disaster Risk Reduction effort was flagged off by His Excellency the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Chief Moses Adeyemo Alake.
That panel set up by the government came out with the list of a total of about 2,500 houses which it recommended for demolition. But after a critical look by government, Adedayo stressed being a humane one, the number was reviewed downwards, with the belief that massive dredging of rivers and streams, as well as construction of bridges across the state, would ameliorate the situation.
“This we did and we thank God that the result is what we have now – a great reduction in the destructive powers of the flood”, he said. On the demolition of Structures erected on statutory set-backs, Dr. Festus Adedayo said over 60 houses on Flood plains have been demolished and more are still slated for demolition.
Also, he noted that enforcement of rules and regulations on compliance with environmental laws are being vigorously pursued.
Other measures put in place to prevent another loss of lives and property through flooding, weekly environmental sanitation has been introduced to promote culture of hygiene and safety promotion.
Contrary to some claims that the government mismanaged the relief materials donated to victims of the flood, Adedayo said the government took prompt action by the evacuation and rescue of victims all over the affected areas; establishment of Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDPs’) at Abbey Technical Odo-Ona Elewe, and Sacred-Heart Primary School Oke-Ayo at Oluyole Estate.
He disclosed that the total money collected by the State government from donors amounted to N93,200,000.
He further explained that construction of temporary pedestrian bridges to reconnect cut-off communities in the affected areas. i.e. Apete and Ayegun communities was provided.
As at now, he added that contracts have been awarded for the reconstruction of the major bridges and roads affected during the Flood and works are on-going steadily on them i.e. bridges at Apete, Secretariat-Bodija, Olomi, Ogbere etc. Works have also begun on recently damaged bridges and roads like Agbongbon Bridge, Simeon Adebo\Davies Hotel/Blessed Water Road, Simeon Adebo/Adeyi,Awolowo Road, Orita Aperin/Omowumi/Olorunsogo Bridge, Failed portion opposite Orogun Junction, along U.I/Ojoo Road, Mokola/Cele/Barrack Junction Road/Bridge, Salami Estate/Bodija Road, Ona River at Olubadan Avenue, Oluyole Estate.
On Apete bridge, the State government, immediately the disaster occurred, constructed a make-shift bridge for the residents and awarded the contract for the reconstruction of the damaged bridge. However, upon the serial complaints of the residents of the area, government had no other alternative but to call the contractor to hands off it. Being a government that abides by the dictates of process and order, the re-award of the bridge contract is going through due process to showcase the government as an open and transparent one.
It appears that the Federal Government is yet to honour the promises it made immediately after the Flood disaster of last year. Recently, a member of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Segun Olaleye once called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure the fulfillment of the promise he made during his visit to the state.
Owing to the task of reconstructing these bridges is so massive and is beyond the State government alone, immediately after the last year flood, the governor met with officials of the World Bank and did a power-point presentation on the case of Ibadan Flood disaster, upon which the bank sent its representatives to the State for an assessment.
The report has culminated in the bank, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Finance, agreeing in principle to grant the State government the sum of N200 million emergency relief, which is almost ready. Part of the fund, he maintained, is to channelize the 30km Ona River and complete the Upper Ogunpa River, along with helping solve the State waste management challenges, from storage, collection, transportation to disposal sites, so as to turn them into sanitary landfills and to eventually begin a waste-to-wealth programme. An absence of these efforts has often been a major cause of Flood disasters,” government said.
Another part of the government’s efforts at ensuring that the Flood disaster of last year does not reoccur was to also partner with the World Bank on the Eleyele Dam. The report, which came out after this partnership, discovered that the Eleyele dam had not been silted in its 47 years of existence.
Some few weeks ago, Governor Ajimobi had to urgently rush to the World Bank office in Abuja, as a result of the predicted heavy rainfall. He further made a presentation to World Bank officials in Washington through teleconferencing in Abuja to show the emergency nature of the Eleyele Dam.
This led to the palliative measures taken by the State government in the reconstruction of Eleyele Dam’s broken slabs. Perhaps, if this had not been done today, the flooding situation would have been more chaotic.
“Even though flooding was a natural occurrence, the Oyo government has done every humanly possible thing to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of Flood disaster in the state. It is however not resting on its oars,” Adedayo said.
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