Over 50 families were displaced last week when flood sacked Oferekpe community in the Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The flood, which was caused by persistent rainfall in the area, has forced the families to take refuge in neighbouring communities. The flood disaster in Oferekpe is said to have been compounded by the community’s proximity to the Oferekpe River which is between Ebonyi and the neighbouring Cross River State. The community has been deserted, while affected people are calling for help from the government, organisations, and individuals.
When a Easterner reporter visited the community on Sunday, people were seen using canoes to cross the flood water to fend for their daily needs. Others improvised a canoe using logs of wood. There were others who walked into the water because they could not afford the cost of being ferried in a boat. Leaders of the community and the affected residents, while describing the situation as unbearable, urged the state government to come to their aid by dredging the Oferekpe River to prevent another surge. Joseph Eworo, one of the leaders in Oferekpe, expressed worries over the development. He said the situation has exposed them to intense hardship. Mr Eworo said the community had experienced flooding in the past years, but that it had not been this bad.
He said many houses were submerged.
Mr Eworo called for immediate intervention by relevant government agencies to ease the suffering of the residents. Another community leader, Stanley Ojikwa, said the two affected villages, Akpoha and Ebora, had been deserted due to severe flooding that destroyed many houses. The situation, he said, was worsened by the surge of the Oferekpe River. He said strange snakes had been attacking those who made efforts to return to their houses. A youth in the community, Juaz Idoko, said the situation has forced them out of their farms.
According to him, the farmers have to either swim or use canoes to access their farms to harvest some of their farms’ produce like yam, potatoes and cassava for sustenance.
“Since this flood started, we have not had our normal lives back. Most of us have been wearing the same clothes for about a week now because others had been washed away by flood.
“We even find it difficult to move out because we don’t want hunger to kill us.
“We need the assistance of the Ebonyi State Government and other well-meaning individuals because this suffering is too much for us. This (pointing to the river) Oferekpe River needs attention,” he said.