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How rainstorm left trail of sorrow in Taraba

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Saturday, May 5, 2019 would forever remain indelible in the memories of Tarabans, especially those living in Jalingo, the state capital, following the havoc visited on them by a deadly rainstorm, which took them unawares.

Apart from the fact that no fewer than five persons lost their lives, and several others injured, including a catholic priest, the heavy downpour brought down many houses, destroyed farmlands and killed several domestics animals.

Four of the five deaths happened when the fiery storm uprooted a communication mast belonging to a mobile telecommunication giant directly opposite the state specialist hospital. The last death recorded was a lady killed in her house.

The rainstorm also ensured that the All Progressive Congress (APC) ward congresses, which took place across the country, did not see the light of day in the state.

Similarly, members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), who were in the closing phase of their orientation, at the orientation camp, located in the outskirts of the state capital were not spared the nature’s rage as the roof of some structures housing them were equally blown off, and some of them sustained injuries in the process.

Still among government structures that had a taste of the bitter pill were the School of Nursing and Midwifery; the state-owned university, police stations and other institutions, which had their roofs blown off, and are presently seeking government’s attention.

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the state specialist hospital, Dr. Dashe Dasogot, while commenting on the deaths confirmed that five corpses were brought to the hospital’s mortuary immediately after the downpour.

He added that the hospital was also attending to several others, who sustained injuries during the storm.

“Four of the deaths were as a result of the falling of the telecom mast that fell opposite our hospital’s gate, as a result of the heavy rainstorm,” he said adding, “ one other corpse was brought from somewhere in the town.”

An eyewitness, who gave her name as Henrietta Antony, told The Guardian that three of her cousins, whom she identified as Aisha Useni, Felicia Istifanus, and Istiah James, were among the four persons killed by the mast.

The sobbing Antony called on the state government, as well as owners of the mast to come to the family’s aid “because the deaths have created a big vacuum in our family”.

Also counting their losses is the Catholic community in the state, whose structure located within the premises of the state university was not spared by the rainstorm.

In confirming the death of the cleric, the Director of Communications of the Catholic Diocese of Jalingo, Rev. Fr. John Jerome said the Chaplain of St. Thomas Aquinas Chaplaincy (which is sited within the university) Rev. Fr. Pontianus Jaffla died while seven students sustained injuries as the temporary shelter, which served as the church came down.

“The priest and students were attending morning service when the church collapsed as a result of heavy storm, which accompanied the early morning rain. Rev. Fr. Jaffla sustained a head injury and was treated at the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo.”

Two of the students, according to him, were treated and discharged at the hospital, while the remaining six are still undergoing treatment at the facility in Jalingo.

At the medical facility, where most of the victims are being attended to, medical personnel told The Guardian that majority of the victims were responding to treatment and would soon be discharged.

Meanwhile, a senior staff of the state Ministry of Environment, who prefers anonymity said, “not until our people desist from tampering with those trees that serve as windbreakers, we will never escaped this type of predicament.”

Touched by the deaths and destruction, the state governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, said his administration would take all necessary steps to safeguard the environment against disasters of this nature.

He admonished the people to cooperate with the government to ensure the successful implementation of programmes and policies that will reduce the impact of all forms of climatic changes that “threaten our environment.”


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