By Ndeke Peter, Aguleri
Over one hundred houses have been destroyed by windstorm in Aguleri, Anambra East local government area of Anambra State.
The incident occurred on Saturday at about ten o’clock in the night wreaking havoc mostly on one of the internally displaced persons (IDP) holding camps in Father Joseph Memorial High School, where at least 10 buildings were badly damaged by the wind.
On Saturday 10th of April, the students of Father Joseph High school, Aguleri, returned from the Easter break to commence academic activities on Monday but little did they know that the wind of nature had a different plan for them.
According to two of the students, Chidera Udo and Akachukwhu Atupulazi they were in the hostel in the dark of night when a heavy wind started to blow their roofs off causing them to scamper for safety while it lasted.
“We were in the hostel when the wind started; it was pushing our doors and started taking the roofs. We were all scared.”
The principal of the school, Rev. Fr. Anthony Okoye who described the incident as shocking and devastating, said the windstorm destroyed several buildings including refectory, teachers quarters classroom blocks, and hostels , thereby leaving more than two thousand students stranded .
“I have never seen such devastating incident; almost all the buildings in the school were affected. We are really calling on government, NEMA, SEMA, churches; let them come to our aid. The students will soon start exams and there are no enough classrooms for them now. “
One of the old boys of the school, Mr. Mike Meze was glad that no life was lost during the windstorm.
He said the development calls for urgent government assistance to enable the students especially those on junior and senior secondary exam classes to resume their studies in Ernest.
According to him, the windstorm destroyed even the new structures that were recently erected for them by the old Boys Association.
“We are really confused , we had a plan that before the end of this year , we will build big structure here that will also have sick bay, but look at this now, in fact government must act fast to rescue them.”
At Justice Chinwuba Memorial Secondary School, Aguleri, the windstorm also carried roofs forcing some of the students to study under the tree as explained by a student, Miss Eukaria Okagbue and the principal of the school, Mr Emmanuel Anerobj who appealed for urgent government intervention.
“My dear we are in need now , look at our classroom block, I told the contractor when he was roofing this structure that he was using substandard materials , now see it, the windstorm has carried it away. “
The Union Nigeria spoke with the board member in charge of Post Primary School Service Commission, Otuocha Zone, Chief Joe Enemou and the Zonal Director of the commission in the area, Mrs Ogochukwu Obi who were on ground to inspect the level of damage done to the schools described the incident as colossal noting that only the federal and state governments would be able to tackle the level of devastation.
We thank God no life was Lost and no child was injured. This is a serious damage done to the schools and we are pleading to government to come immediately.”
The windstorm also affected private buildings and shops , causing untold hardship to the people who are predominantly farmers as narrated by Chyukwudi Onyejekwe, the representative of the Executive Secretary of the state, Chief Paul Odenigbo.
“This is the biggest holding camp we have in the state for flood victims, even the blocks we u use to camp them, everything was destroyed. That is why we contacted NEMA immediately to come and see things for themselves and come to our aid as the state cannot handle it alone. Several other residential houses and places of worship were also destroyed by the Windstorm”
Speaking with The Union Nigeria after a joint assessment of the windstorm damage with SEMA, the Zonal Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency, Enugu, Mr. Major Eze said an official report would be sent to the federal government for urgent intervention to the affected victims even as he expressed shock over the level of destruction.
The victims are calling for government’s intervention as the development has plunged them into unplanned expenses.