• Saturday, July 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Olambe flood crisis: Residents plead for urgent relief amid devastating displacement

Lawmaker calls for urgent action as flood destroys 65 communities in Plateau

In a devastating turn of events, the residents of Olambe are crying out for help as relentless floods from heavy downpours on June 25th and 26th, 2024, displaced the majority of the community, forcing them to seek refuge with neighbours.

This crisis has left the Olambe community, a crucial part of Abeokuta in Ogun State’s Ifo Local Government Area, in desperate need of aid and relief. The flooding has exacerbated an already dire situation, as residents were already struggling with the ongoing food crises in the country.

The combination of displacement and food insecurity has created a disheartening experience for the community, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive support and intervention.

Regrettably, the following CDAs are among the flood victims: Alafia-Oluwa, Alafia-Ifeoluwa, Alafia-Ijoba, Flourish, popularly known as St. Lucy, Alafia-Isokan, and others.

Read also: Nimet alerts of heavy rainfall, floods in 7 states

According to one of the victims, the disaster’s root cause lies in the community’s inability to create a proper drainage path. Many property owners have built on natural erosion paths, claiming the land as their own.

Despite numerous meetings over the years, the Ministry of Environment’s intervention has proven ineffective. Instead of a solution, the ministry suggested the community reach an agreement among themselves and take the necessary actions.

Regrettably, close to 10 years have passed, and the problem has only worsened each year, displacing many vulnerable residents. “Last year’s flood was not as severe as this one. The current situation is the worst we’ve ever experienced, and we fear what might happen next,” the victim lamented.

Although there have been no reported deaths, the destruction of property has turned many homeowners into tenants, exacerbating their plight.

Oluwaseun Folorunsho, a property owner in one of the CDAs, voiced his frustrations: “Sincerely, we have been battling floods for almost 10 years now, yet nothing has been done.” As a businessman selling cooking gas, the rainy season hits him hard.

“During the rainy season, sales drop by more than 90 percent,” he explains. “This is because accessibility to my office is severely affected, which significantly impacts my welfare.”

The cost of the flood is devastating. “Besides losing sales, I have to rent a pumping machine at an average cost of 20,000 naira per 2-3 hours to pump out the water,” he says. “The financial burden of the floods is overwhelming.

Honestly, I am not happy with the government.” Folorunsho’s story highlights the severe and ongoing impact of flooding on the community and the pressing need for government intervention.

He added, “The flood has exacerbated poverty in the area, as it has damaged a lot of properties in the community. Victims find it tough to replace those things, considering the current economic situation and the lack of a clear solution to the disaster.”

In this heartbreaking turn of events, a family of six from Flourish CDA, who preferred to remain anonymous, were displaced by the relentless flood. With no nearby place to seek refuge, they had no choice but to move into a shop far from their home but still within the same CDA.

The parents laid their children on a bench to sleep while they took turns standing guard to protect them through the night. “This is not just inconvenient; it’s a crisis,” they lamented. The situation underscores the dire need for immediate government intervention to provide relief and prevent further suffering.

“Honestly, I am poorer today not only because of the economic situation but also due to the persistent flooding that has repeatedly destroyed my properties,” lamented a retiree who wished to remain anonymous.

Read also: Flood alert: Here are 15 States at high risk this month

“After serving the government for 35 years, I now struggle to find any comfort, faced with yearly flood challenges.” His words capture the frustration and despair of those who, despite a lifetime of hard work, are left vulnerable and suffering due to inadequate infrastructure and a lack of effective government response.

Adenuga, a shepherd at the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) on Adams Street, popularly known as Cele4, shared his grievances about the recurring flooding disaster. “It is a reoccurring disaster that has affected the church, the community, and businesses,” he lamented.

Despite the community’s significant efforts to address the issue, saboteurs have undermined their progress. “Presently, significant church members hardly come to church again due to the flood,” Adenuga explained.

“The flood has turned our recurrent expenditure into capital expenditure,” he added. “This is honestly disheartening since the presence of the government has not been felt at all in our area.”

The Olambe community’s struggles against persistent flooding highlight a critical need for effective government intervention. Immediate and comprehensive support is essential to alleviate the suffering, restore livelihoods, and prevent further devastation. The government must act now to ensure a safer and more stable future for the residents of Olambe.