YAHYA SARKI writes that hell was let loose on the Sabon Gari, Maiyama community of Kebbi State recently as windstorm, accompanied by a light rain in a flash, turned the community and all they have inside out.
Sunday April 30, 2017 would not be easily forgotten by the people of Sabon Gari, Maiyama community of Kebbi State. It was a day the community witnessed unprecedented and unexpected weather condition that was characterised by violent rain and windstorms, right in the middle of the night.
The heavy rain and windstorms that lasted for almost an hour was so violent that it blew off roof tops, cracked buildings, fell walls, cut down electricity cable lines, destroyed transformers, water facilities and in some areas reduced houses into rubbles . The community’s public school and hospital were not spared by the raging windstorm that in totality, devastated 470 houses and confined 70 people to hospital beds with eight out of this number, sustaining fractures and different life-threatening injuries. Although findings by our correspondent revealed that no human death was recorded, that could not be said of livestock as several sheep and goats were claimed by the disaster.
Usman Haruna (38), a victim barely escaped with his two wives and 10 children in an incident that look to him like it was the end of the world. The violent windstorm, accompanied by a light rain brought his four-bedroom apartment to the ground. According to him it was a miracle he escaped from the rampaging storms or wind and rain that descended almost in a flash. ‘’I was so lucky to have left my four-bedroom house with my entire family. It was like hell, it was like the world was coming to an end. When it all started violently, almost all the houses in the community were shaking. My children and wives were crying and shouting for help. In that terrible windy condition we managed to abandoned the house when part of the ceiling and even the walls started breaking and falling,’’ he said.
Haruna said he lost all other things that he owned in the horrific incident. He appealed to authorities who provide succour to come to their aid. ‘’Although immediately the incident happened, Governor Bagudu was here to sympathise with us and donated some money but we still need assistance from different quarters. I cannot quantify the amount I lost,” he said .
Abdulhadi Isyaka (30) is also another victim. He and his four children and one wife also cheated death on that fateful day. Isyaka and his family members were not at home while the storm raged. ‘’I was at the filling station when it started and even before I left my family travelled to Birnin Kebbi. The violent windstorm accompanied by light rain came down within short period. As it all started I saw something like black smoke forming in the sky and it gradually engulfed the whole of Maiyama community and suddenly the violent wind came just like hurricane blowing up roof tops demolishing whatever it came across, people were shouting crying for help. I was even surprised to later found out that no death was recorded, only devastation of houses. As a Muslim, I take everything to God. I lost two rooms, a kitchen and a store where all my food stuff were kept. At least I lost about N5million if I am to quantify my loss. We really need help from the state, federal and individuals,’’ he said.
Many of the victims who lost their houses are now putting up with relatives while others have temporarily taken up accommodated in the public school in the community. The sole administrator of the local government area, Alhaji Haliru Idris Sambawa while talking to our correspondent on the matter described the incident as devastating and appealed for assistance from the state and federal government. He said the incident was beyond the capacity of the local government to handle alone as the losses incurred run into hundreds of millions of naira.
‘’Although there was no death but there were casualties up to 70, some with different injuries and fractures. Some victims are hospitalised at Sir Yahaya Memorial Hospital in Birnin Kebbi while others are the Federal Medical Center in Birnin Kebbi. Houses destroyed will total up 470, actually the losses runs into millions. There is one Islamic School alone constructed by Garkuwan Maiyama, it is a giant project that was affected and it will cost over N50 million naira.
“We have set up four committees, comprising the police, DSS, civil defence corps and local government officials and some traditional leaders to quickly assess the situation. As a first aid measure we gave free drugs and invited doctors to assist the victims. The state governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu was here and went round to commiserate with the victims and personally donated N5million naira. So we appeal for the state and federal government assistance because the local government cannot do it alone.|” Sambawa said.
Indeed the victims of Maiyama local government area of Kebbi State windstorm incurred losses that run into millions of naira as their houses have been destroyed, rendering them homeless and many others hospitalised. Although the state governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu have taken the responsibility of their medical bills, it is believed that there is the urgent need by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to come to the aid of the Maiyama victims.