Flooded Polobubo (Teskelewu) in the Warri North Local Government Area of Delta state.

*…community urges FG to direct Chevron to intervene

By Onome Oghenetega

At least, three children have been reportedly killed following heavy flooding that ravaged some riverine communities including Polobubo (Teskelewu) in the Warri North Local Government Area of Delta state.

The deceased died as a result of the perennial rains in the last two which resulted to flooding in the communities.

Residents of the area particularly have protested their plight, calling on the Delta State and Federal Government including Chevron to intervene in their predicament.

Community sources in Polobubo (Teskelewu) gave the names of the victims simply identified as Annabel (two-year-old), Gift (four-year-old) and Praise-God (six-year-old) died last week.

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They all died last week. The remains of Praise-God who was last to die among the three children was discovered on Saturday after she was reportedly washed away by the ravaging flood in the area.

Annabel and Gift were said to have died earlier in the week.

It was learnt that 80 per cent of the community has been submerged by flood with several residents homeless.

One of the bereaved parents, Mr David Suku, who lost two his children to the flooding, confirmed the development to newsmen who visited the area on Sunday.

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Suku, who is the father of Gift and Praise-God, said, “The water was too much, so as the child fell into the water nobody was around. Before we could find him, he was already dead. The last flood, one died, this one another one has died, if there is anything government can do for us, they should do it. Losing a second child to the flood is too much for me.”

Also narrating the incident, mother of Gift and Praise-God, Doris Suku said, “I was at home when the child went out to play. I thought he was at my brother’s wife’s place. I didn’t see him, so I went to ask them. They said he had returned home and I told them, no, I haven’t seen him. We looked for him. It was in the morning, we saw him already dead.”

The father of another family, Mr Enoch Kane, recalled the tragic day he lost his daughter, saying “she died on August 16. I lost my daughter to the flood. She walked to the backyard, unknowing to me and fell into the the water. We looked for her, only to find her in the water, already dead. She was two years old and wasn’t used to swimming.”

However, the community has called on the federal government to urgently direct Chevron Nigeria Limited to dredge the inland waterways, while bemoaning the loss of lives to  the flood.

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Some flooded areas of Polobubo (Teskelewu) in the Warri North Local Government Area of Delta state.

Speaking, the secretary general of Polobubo national council,  Mr. Midwest Kukuru described the development as “agonizing, harrowing and disturbing,” further accusing Chevron of being responsible for the flood disaster.

He explained that the river in the community used to be a “very deep fresh water habitat, until few years after the advent of oil companies, particularly Chevron. We began to have these problems. This problem is caused by Chevron as a result of the canal that was dug into the Atlantic Ocean. The silts from the ocean come through the canal and are deposited in this river. During dry season this river is less than one meter. Because it is silted, when the rain falls the water has nowhere to go than to begin to overflow the banks, go into houses and begin to cause problems. This in a nutshell is the cause of it.

“We are appealing to the governments, local, state, federal and even the world, to prevail on Chevron to open up this our river for us. First of all, block that canal that they dug to the Atlantic ocean, then dig the whole of this river. Get it to the normal depth that it was before. Then, there are areas they need to fill with sand for this community to relocate to because we have study reports that say that the whole of the community is sitting below sea level.

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“For those reasons, we are asking the world, the federal government, to urgently prevail on Chevron to reclaim a particular place for Tsekelewu-Polububo people to stay on. Having dredged it, we need it piled so we don’t have this yearly problem. The flood we had last year was less than what we have now. It is expected that by next year, it is going to be far greater than what we have today. Now the people cannot lay hands on anything,” Kukuru emphasized.

The Nation also visited the community’s Cottage Hospital, where the medical director of health facility, Dr. Terry Itimi, said patients had to be moved from the wards and the theatre rendered “not functional”.

“No surgery can occur at the moment. It is very important that the government or whoever is in charge come to the aid of this people because this is the only functional hospital around this Polobubo vicinity and people come from all areas around here to get medical care.

“With the way the water is going, sometimes, it is up to knee level in the hospital. Two days ago, we had an emergency surgery for a woman, but due to the unhygienic state of the facility, we couldn’t carry that out. There are other cases we have to refer to urban areas which are very far from here,” the doctor said.


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