With eight persons dead, 120 injured, 1500 homes reduced to rubble, 347 schools affected and 3000 electricity poles destroyed, Bauchi State has got many issues to worry about.
Last Saturday’s rain and windstorm that wrecked havoc in Bauchi town the capital of Bauchi State shocked the nation and will for a long time remain in the consciousness of Bauchi citizens as the massive destruction it wreaked on lives and properties has never been seen in recent times..
The heavy downpour that started in the evening of that faithful day caused several damages to properties, leaving in its wake, destroyed electric poles and throwing the entire city into blackout for days.
One of the victims of the disaster, Mr Success Ekpo, who resides in Gwallameji area of the state, narrated a near death experience, and said it was sheer luck that saved his family from total destruction.
“It was about 30 to 40 minutes after the start of the rain when I began to feel that the roof of my house was about to pull off from the building.
“It was at that point that I decided for my family and myself to seek shelter at my neighbour’s place. I quickly grabbed the few valuables I could lay our hands on. Not long after running to our neighbour, I saw the roof of my building separated from the building and took off for about 45 to 50 foot long and then it landed on the ground. It was a quick thinking and strategy that saved my family,” he said.
As the windstorm rages on, several people were injured as they struggled to seek for safety.
Consequently, shops, domestic animals and businesses were seriously affected in almost all parts of the town. The windstorm rendered several people homeless, as many were forced to sleep outside.
In Tirwun, a suburb of Bauchi, Baban Kura told Journalists that he slept outside with his family, after losing the entire house to the windstorm. That is a similar story in most parts of the state
“I lost everything to the windstorm while my daughter is critically injured and now currently bedridden in hospital. However, several people that suffered injury are currently receiving medical treatment in the hospital,” Kura lamented.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that a family also lost a husband and two children when their house was said to have sunk to the ground leaving only a surviving mother.
The downpour that started at 4pm, after the completion of the popular horse riding known as ‘Hawan Daushe’, one of the traditional activities marking Sallah festival which took place at the Bauchi Government House and lasted for two hours, leaving residents bewildered.
It was reported that the buildings and trees that fell down rendered many people homeless and some lost their lives in the process.
Malam Sani Al’amin, a public commentator, said seven people lost their lives at Tirwun Area, while a lecturer at A. D Rufai College for Legal and Islamic Studies, Misau, Ibrahim Ismail, lamented that he attended funeral prayers of three persons who lost their lives to the storms in Kandahar Quarters and two other victims behind Vocational Secondary School, even as one person died in Gudum, all in the state capital.
As a result of the windstorm, the Bauchi regional office of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) disclosed that over 300 electric poles and many transformers were affected.
JED’s head of Technical Unit, Abdullahi Hussaini, made this disclosure on Monday, while briefing newsmen after inspecting the affected areas.
According to him, communication masts, insulators and armoured and aluminium cables were also badly affected by the disaster in parts of the town.
He said his office was currently preparing report which would be forwarded to the headquarters of the company in Jos for further action.
The company while appealing to Bauchi residents to exercise patience for the concomitant darkness they would experience following the calamity, assuring that they would fix the damaged electric poles and transformers as soon as possible.
Some of the notable places affected by the ‘mini tsunami’ include, Daar Communication PLC, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM radio whose mast had fallen down thereby making the stations to go off air, zonal office of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
University Teaching Hospital, Tatari Ali Polytechnic, as well as College of Education Kangere, among others.
In an interview with Journalists, the Provost of the College of Education Kangere, Hajiya Hadiza Usman Isah, revealed that the level of damage wrecked by the windstorms in the school was enormous.
According to her, their school classes, staff quarters, hostels and offices were up rooted and where important documents were also destroyed. She appealed to state government to rehabilitate the affected structures in good time so that their academic calendar would not be affected.
Meanwhile, in less than 24 hours after the windstorm incident, a major catastrophe happened in Azare another town in Bauchi State where over 700 shops were razed down by fire destroying goods worth billions of naira.
In showing concern governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, commiserated with the people of Azare town over the fire incidence that erupted Sunday night.
To assess the level of damage caused by the inferno the governor announced government’s readiness to provide immediate relief materials to the victims.
Going round the devastated market in company of the Emir of Katagum Alhaji Umar Farouk, Governor Abubakar lamented that the lack of access roads was responsible for the inability of fire fighting vehicles to put down the inferno, said government will ensure that the market is modernised when reconstructing it.
The governor had earlier on Sunday commiserated with the people of Bauchi State over the deaths and destructions as a result of heavy downpour and windstorm.
In a broadcast to the state after personally carrying out an on the spot assessment of the communities affected by the windstorm in company of the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, Governor Abubakar said, “As true believers, we should take the incident as an act of God and at the same time pray to Almighty Allah to give us the courage to bear the losses incurred.”
Governor Abubakar said thorough assessment is being carried out on the destructions in all nooks and crannies of the state with a view to providing immediate assistance to the victims, stressing that the federal government will be intimated of the situation for possible immediate assistance.
“The state had witnessed a heavy downpour, which came along with heavy windstorm that caused serious destructions to homes, schools, farmlands, market places in many parts of the state, all of which came just after our fervent prayers to the Almighty Allah for rains,” Governor Abubakar added.
He unveiled the state government’s immediate plans, in conjunction with the traditional leaders, to redouble efforts in checking desertification and global warming as a way of reducing the effects of such destructive windstorm.
Governor Abubakar therefore called on traditional, religious and community leaders in the state to join government in enlightening people on environmental protection techniques, particularly the urgent need to stop cutting down trees, rather we should imbibe the culture of planting and protecting trees”.
The governor appealed to philanthropists, corporate organisations and well wishers to help the government by coming to the aid of the victims of the windstorm, prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
Meanwhile, the governor has directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to provide assistance to the victims.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his immediate reaction, directed the minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to lead a federal government delegation immediately to Bauchi State in the aftermath of the windstorm which destroyed an estimated 1,505 houses mainly in the state capital. Eight persons are now confirmed dead while 120 others have reported various degrees of injury.
The delegation which also includes the Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja is to undertake an assessment of the extent of damage occasioned by the natural disaster.
In an earlier message on Monday, President Buhari extended his deepest sympathies to the victims and families of the devastating windstorm and the fire incidents. The President said that the “nation stands in solidarity with their fellow countrymen in this difficult time as they face the devastation with courage and fortitude.”
Not satisfied with merely sending a delegation, the president personally visited the scene of the destruction in Bauchi and Azare and commiserated with the victims.
President Muhammadu described the windstorm that killed 8 people and destroyed property worth millions of naira in Bauchi last Saturday as an act of God.
He commiserated with victims on Thursday over the fire incident that destroyed over 1,000 shops at Azare market and urges the people to accept it as an act of God.
He stated this when he visited the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Railwan Sueliman Adamu Bauchi on Thursday to commiserate with the government and people of bauchi over the deadly incident.
According to him “whatever happen to human should be taken as an act of Allah. So we are here today to condole with the families of those that lost their lives during the windstorm. We also want to urge those that lost properties during the windstorm and the fire inferno to accept it with faith”.
The Bauchi state government had earlier confirmed 8 people killed during the windstorm while over 120 people sustained injury and over 1,500 homes were destroyed, as well as over 349 schools and 3000 electricity destroyed in Bauchi metropolis during the incident
In a similar vein, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in a press release issued by his special adviser on Media, Turaki Hassan, sympathised with the people of the state over the incident and called on relevant federal and state agencies to quickly provide relief materials to the victims in order to alleviate their sufferings.
“I am deeply touched and saddened by the news of yet another natural disaster in Bauchi and some towns and villages which caused various degrees of injuries and destroyed several properties in the affected areas”.
“I also urge relevant government agencies to quickly move in and provide immediate assistance to the victims of this disaster and come up with necessary emergency preparedness and early warning mechanisms to mitigate the effects of such natural disasters”, he said.
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