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Rainstorm destroys communities, renders hundreds homeless in Bayelsa


Residents of Kilama community in Yenagoa gathering the remains of their roofing materials after a rainstorm that destroyed over 70 houses in the area yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Hundreds of residents in Kilama, Tein, Tambiri and Egbebiri communities of Biseni clan, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have been rendered homeless by a devastating rainstorm.

The violent whirlwind that accompanied the downpour on Tuesday blew away the roofs of over 70 houses, five churches and three schools in the affected communities. Also destroyed were some electric poles, which has thrown the communities into darkness, as power supply has been cut off.

Speaking on the incident, paramount ruler of Kilama, Chief Difference Nemiya, said the incident also destroyed many plantain farms, farm crops and economic trees. “This natural disaster is the worst I have witnessed in this community. There was one that happened in 2000, but it was not this bad. As we speak, we are still counting our losses and the community is in an emergency mode.

“Many of those displaced have nowhere to go and we need help from relevant government agencies to bring relief and succour to the affected persons,” he said.One of the victims, Mr. Godhelp Okorobia, said the rainstorm destroyed both his father’s house and his own, sacking seven of his tenants. “We were in a meeting when the weather changed and the storm started. My father’s house, which is close to the meeting venue was blown away by the wind and dropped in a different location entirely. When I got home, I saw my own house in ruins,” Okorobia said.

Another victim, Mrs. May Zuku, a 75-year-old widow, said the disaster happened two weeks after her husband’s death. The widow said the storm destroyed their only building, lamenting that it was too much for her to bear while still mourning her late husband.

She appealed to Yenagoa local council, the state government and public-spirited individuals to assist the family in rehabilitating her husband’s residence destroyed by the storm.

Also a farmer, Mr. Ogiama Solomon, said his plantain farm was badly destroyed while an electric pole fell on the roof of his house. He, however, thanked God for sparing human lives in the entire community while the storm lasted.

“In the midst of our loss, we thank God that there was no loss of life. An electricity pole fell near the shop of a petty trader. The trader and her baby were unhurt. It was indeed a miracle,” Solomon said.

Narrating his own ordeal, the deputy paramount ruler of Kilama, Mr. Lawrence Beneth, said he lost part of his roof and adjoining buildings to the rainstorm. He appealed for relief materials to affected members of his community.

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