No fewer than six houses collapsed during a heavy downpour at Nyagasang community in Atimbo area of Calabar Municipality, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The houses, which were brought down after a heavy rainfall on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11, stood beside a ravine in the community.
Aside the buildings that were completely brought down, NAN Correspondent who visited the area reports that over 20 buildings in the area where also under threat of possible destruction.
One of the victims, Mr Sunday Akpan, told NAN that the heavy down pour caused havoc in the area, pulling down houses and forcing the occupants to leave for safety.
According to Akpan, over 100 residents in the area have been displaced from their ancestral homes following the incident.
“As you can see, all these building were standing here. This gully site has eaten deep into this area and is beginning to fall down houses.
“We have been continuously calling on governments and the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to come to our aid.
“As you can see, we are in danger. Some of the landlords are now tenants. We are appealing to government in tears to help us.
“We have written severally to the state government and NEWMAP and we were told that the gully will be addressed in phase 2 but we dont know how long that will take,” he said.
Another victim, Mr Etim Umoh, who said he has lived in the area for over 30 years, said there was no ravine in the area at the early stage of building.
According to him, when the ravine started building up, the community had to plant bamboo trees to curb the widening of the ravine.
He lamented that properties worth millions of Naira have been lost due to the destruction and appealed for help from government and relevant agencies.
Acting Director General of Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, Mr Princewill Ayim, who assessed the extent of destruction, said no life was lost during the incident.
Ayim said that the assessment would be sent to the zonal office of the National Emergency Management Agency for transmission to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja for prompt response.
He said that the agency had held several advocacy and sensitisation programmes and enlightening the public not to build along water channels.
Ayim advised those living along the water channels to move to higher grounds for their safety.
“From what we have seen, the buildings were standing on the ravine. Its unfortunate that this has happened; I will inform NEMA for necessary actions,” he said.
The State Project Coordinator of NEWMAP, Dr Fidelis Anukwa, told NAN that the agency had completed its work at the area.
“We are aware that some gully sites are springing up in that area, but as I speak with you, we dont have any work to do in Nyagasang. Also, we dont have any design for Nyagasang area.
“Some people have come to us, but since we are not an emergency intervention agency that will just rise up and start doing work, we do thorugh work in accordance with World Bank procedures.
“I am aware of that site but it is not part of what we are doing now. The site is not even part of the up coming five sites whose evaluation is ongoing,” he said.