Floods ravage Lagos

Date: 11-07-2011 10:40 am (12 years ago) | Author: Aliuniyi lawal
- at 11-07-2011 10:40 AM (12 years ago)

It was a day of rage in Lagos State on Sunday as a downpour that started at about 5am lasted throughout the day and left most of the major roads and streets flooded. The floods brought all economic, social and religious activities to a standstill as motorists had to ‘sail’ through flooded roads while pedestrians waded through shoulder-high rain water.

In most parts of the metropolis, panic-stricken residents whose homes had been slowly taken over by floods tried to salvage their possessions before abandoning their homes. In some cases, many abandoned their homes in haste and took refuge on roofs.

Alarmed by the volume of the floods, Lagos State officials issued advisory alerts in the afternoon, warning residents to stay off the roads. In a “Traffic Advisory,” the state Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, asked residents to stay indoors except it was “absolutely necessary” to venture out.

Opeifa’s advisory reads, “Due to heavy flooding occasioned by persistent rainfall previously predicted by the Nigerian Metrological Agency, sections of most Lagos roads are flooded. Motorists and road users are advised to stay off the roads except it is absolutely necessary. This advisory will be updated every hour.”

Distress alerts

But the alert had no calming effect on some residents from different parts of the state who posted distressed messages on social networking sites and broadcast warning messages to friends on Blackberry phones.

One Femi Ogunremi, in a BB message to one of our correspondents, writes, “Please call the authorities to send help to the people of Oke Odo area of Agege, by the canal. They are all on their roofs.”

At 9pm, a resident of Oregun, Ahmed Boulor, sent a distress SMS to THE PUNCH that many people were trapped behind Total Filing station in the area and that houses had been submerged in the flood.

“Please call the authorities to send help to the people of Oregun behind Total Filling station. They are all floating and their houses are flooded. Children are screaming, mothers are crying. To worsen it, they are in the dark and hoodlums are moving in,” Boulor’s message read.

In explaining the floods, the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, who also issued an alert in the afternoon on Sunday, said the persistent rain, and the unusual rise in the water levels of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Lagoon caused the flooding.

Bello said, “Today’s downpour has been heavier than normal as the state government had earlier warned. It has been raining since 5am in many areas and it has not stopped.

“The water level has risen incredibly so that the channels that are meant to discharge water from the roads and drainages are completely locked because of the high tide and because both the Atlantic Ocean and Lagoon that receive water from our channels have risen more than usual.”

Bello appealed to residents to bear with the government, assuring them that the water would “gradually disappear.”

“Please be calm and do not panic. Once the rains subside, the water on the roads will gradually disappear. Our men are on the field working to manage this situation. Please endeavour to remain indoors as much as possible until the rain stops. Thank you for your understanding and please send this message to all your contacts,” he said.

Canoe operators

In the Surulere area of the metropolis, residents and stranded commuters paid N100 to canoe operators to move from one point to another.

A resident, Pastor Wale Dada, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that most roads in Surulere had been rendered impassable.

“The whole place has become impassable; it is unbelievable. The Karounwi canal is flooded and the bridge is submerged. Canoe operators collect N100 to carry people from one end of the place to the other.

“You know that the Akerele road is undergoing construction; that place is impassable. Adeniran Ogunsanya is a no-go area right now. The situation is terribly bad.”

One of our correspondents who resides in Alapere, Ketu, said, “Most parts of this place (Alapere) is flooded; our own place is a bit better because it is located on high ground, but the whole estate is flooded. A car in our compound is almost completely submerged in flood. Most people are trying to salvage what they have in their houses in this place,” he said.

Agony of residents

A motorist in Ijeshatedo in Itire Local Council Development Area, Mr. Abayomi Ogunremi, said the water level in the area had reached his car’s bonnet.

“The whole area is covered with water. In most places, you cannot see where the road is and where the drains are. Everywhere is under water. Until the government takes decisive steps to address the flooding in the state, anybody who values his life should not leave his house when such rain falls,” Ogunremi said.

At Agric Junction in Ikorodu, a motorist told one of our correspondents that motorists spent an average of two hours before they could pass through the flooded area.

“It was a terrible situation. The traffic situation came to a standstill as no vehicle was moving. Confusion became the order of the day. Apart from the road, most houses near the road were submerged in flood and residents were helpless,” the motorist said.

At the Ketu end of the Ikorodu Road, motorists were caught up in heavy traffic and hundreds of passengers were seen at bus stops waiting for buses that never came. A motorist, who identified himself simply as Kayode, told one of our correspondents that the flood was unprecedented.

He said that as a result of the heavy traffic, some commercial bus drivers had veered into the dedicated lane for Bus Rapid Transit, thereby creating greater confusion on the road.

The residents of Akoka, Afolabi Brown, Adeyinka, Osijo, Funmilayo Onoronke, Bello and Obadiah streets, and parts of Community Road, were the worst hit in Yaba.

One of the residents, who was at work during the rain, got a call from his wife, asking him to return home because their apartment had been taken over by flood.

At Jibowu, Herbert Macaulay and Murtala Mohammed roads, many motorists abandoned their vehicles in the floods as vehicles broke down, clogged the road and made movement impossible. Two popular motor parks, Chisco Motors and Ifesinachi motor parks at Jibowu, were heavily flooded also.

At Iyana Ipaja, Orisumbare, Alebiosu, Jimoh streets were seriously flooded as the areas lacked drainage channels. Many worshippers in Orisumbare were unable to reach their churches.

Man drowns in Ketu

One Pastor Emma, told THE PUNCH that the flooding of the area had assumed a worrisome dimension.

“The last time it rained heavily like this, a woman with a baby strapped to her back was carried away by the flood. There are no drains and the roads are death traps. Then, government started constructing channels but they had abandoned it since last year,” he said.

A resident of Bariga, who identified himself as Chukwuemeka, said that the floods covered houses and that the canal which links Somolu, Fola Agoro, Pedro and other adjoining streets in the area overflowed.

At Abule Egba and the old toll-gate end of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, there was light flooding but heavy a traffic at Abule Egba junction.

Motorists driving away from the rain also caused traffic jam at the old toll gate.

A motorist, Abayomi Oluseun, said that people were running away from the flood at Casso Bus stop on the expressway.

“The water is rising, and everybody knows that once it rises, it will swallow cars, let alone human beings,” Oluseun said.

Mr. Raheem Bello, who lives on Lagos Island, told one of our correspondents that many residents of the Island could not get out of their houses due to the severity of the rain.

He said, “That probably saved the day, because traffic was light. But there was flooding everywhere. However, once there is reduction in the rain, the floods will subside; once it increases, the flood will rise too.”

Another Lagosian, who gave her name as Tunrayo said on the telephone that she had to sleep over at her in-laws’ house in Egbeda, where she was on a visit.

“The rain is just too much. Everywhere is flooded. The traffic is now unbearable and I do not think I can go home today. I am planning to sleep over and I will leave for work tomorrow morning. I know that the traffic in Apapa where I work will be so terrible now,” Tunrayo lamented.

An employee of a five-star hotel in the highbrow Victoria Island, one Ogungbe, who also spoke to one of our correspondents, said the rain disrupted vehicular movement and commercial activities in the area.

“You need to see this flood. There is a big flood at a junction in Oniru Estate, just before you approach Shoprite. The disaster made it difficult to get access to various linking roads. Even though we have a staff bus to convey us (the staff) out of this place, I do not know if the vehicle will be able to pass through the flood. We may have to wait until it subsides,” he said.

At Ketu, the body of an unidentified male was found in a gutter on Ikosi Road.

An eyewitness, who identified himself as Moroof, said the motionless body was presumed dead by bystanders who were too scared to retrieve the body.

“Around 6.30pm, I saw some people staring into the gutter. When I went closer, I saw the body of a man who is believed to have been drowned today. The situation in this area is worrisome. Government must do something about it fast because anytime it rains, the flooding is usually strong,” Moroof said.

Posted: at 11-07-2011 10:40 AM (12 years ago) | Gistmaniac
- talkenson at 11-07-2011 11:09 AM (12 years ago)
Posted: at 11-07-2011 11:09 AM (12 years ago) | Upcoming