The residents of Doemak, Baa’p, and its environs in Qua’anpan local government area of Plateau State cannot forget in a hurry how rainstorm wreaked havoc in the communities destroying more than 100 houses, worship places, and properties worth millions of naira.
At the moment, most of the residents have no place to call home or means of livelihood as a result of the development.
The sad incident which occurred on Sunday, May 2 lasted till the early hours of Monday, May 3, and was accompanied by a heavy windstorm that blew off roofs of several houses and rendered many families homeless. The storm came when the people of the affected communities were preparing their farmlands and awaiting the rainy season to commence planting, not knowing that there would be a heavy price to pay.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the rainstorm destroyed government structures including the legislative chamber, some departmental offices, staff quarters, the NYSC Lodge, the Nigerian Police Force Divisional Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) Divisional Office, the Magistrate Court building, the Local Education Authority office, and classroom blocks at government primary and secondary schools in the community.
Other private structures affected include the newly roofed NUT club building, Private Primary and Secondary Schools, shopping malls, and several residential buildings, as well as economic trees, among others.
Rev. Fr. Joshua Daffa Parish Priest of St. Joseph Parish Doemak in Qua’anpan local government Area while speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday lamented the colossal damage done to the church as a result of the rainstorm.
According to him, the rain started around 4.30 pm accompanied by a windstorm culminating in the removal of nails and zinc on the rooftop of the church building.
He pointed out the rain started when the Bishop was having a meeting with the youths of the church, adding that people suddenly became perplexed and were screaming in pain as the rainstorm destroyed any building that was standing and demolished them to the foundation.
Rev. Fr. Daffa further said the church building, fence, garage, pig farm, and roof were blown off as people were running helter-skelter in search of a place to cover their heads as the rampaging rainstorm wreaked havoc on structures.
He said most members of the church had suffered colossal losses. Some of them have gone to seek refuge with their neighbours in another village because the roof of their houses was blown off.
Rev. Fr Daffa also disclosed that in Doemak alone the rainstorm destroyed properties worth over N100 million lamenting that the COVID-19 pandemic had earlier affected the level of productivity of the people which is already very low culminating in the situation whereby students attend schools from their homes.
According to him, some parents who could not cope with the situation have withdrawn their children from schools, adding that within just two months Plateau State Government is running two terms and other external exams like WAEC/ NECO and JAMB.
He said most members of the church had suffered colossal losses.
“My church cannot seek help just nearby. The roof of the Church has been blown off. We are afraid of the next rain. We are appealing to spirited individuals, government, NGOs to come to our aid, or else we will be worshipping in a church without a roof and this is just the beginning of the rainy season,” he said.
Also speaking to our correspondent on his ordeal Mr Samuel Nkup a primary school teacher said his property worth N2 million was destroyed by the rainstorm.
According to him, “It started like a usual wind on that day around 4: 30 pm. Sadly, the rain started as a normal rain and we thought it was something usual but it later accompanied with heavy windfall which blew off the roof of houses, including the trees that opt to serve as a windbreaker.”
He stated that those that are residing in mud houses were badly affected. He appealed to NGO, spirited individuals, organisations and state governments to come to assist because the damages are beyond what they can handle.
Similarly, a widow Mrs. Zipporah Joshua who is a classroom teacher and has not been paid salaries for the past Four months told our correspondent in Doemak that the roof of her three-bedroom flat was removed completely by the rainstorm.
According to her, we were in the house around 5: 00 pm when the rain started saying it first removed the zinc of the living room and they went into the bedroom and suddenly it pulled off the roof of the entire building.
“As I am speaking right now, we have moved a few of our belongings to stay with our relatives in another village. Presently I have nowhere to lay my head now with my children.”
She appealed to the Plateau State Government to come to her aid and other people who also lost their buildings or properties in this disastrous rainfall.
A staff of the National Orientation Agency, Dakyap Chris, told our correspondent that the rainstorm blew off the entire roof of his building.
Chris said the rainstorm caused monumental damage to buildings as well as economic activities in Deomak and its environs.
“I called this pandemic because it affected close to over seven villages in Qua’anpan Local Government Area. So many families don’t have a place to sleep, and they suddenly became refugees in neighbouring communities.”
“We are appealing to the state governments, SEMA and NEMA to assist us to rebuild our homes. Most of those affected are now stranded most especially now that the rain has just started.’’
Meanwhile, the executive chairman of the Council, Hon. Abdulmalik Yusuf Haruna, who personally went to inspect some of the affected structures to ascertain the level of damage, sympathized with the victims, admonishing them to accept the incident as an act of God.
Hon. Abdulmalik stated that the Local Government Authority would take necessary steps to attract support from government agencies and private hands.