With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
With the sudden change in weather Tuesday evening, residents of Ilorin, Kwara State anticipated a succour from the heat (hot weather), which has been tormenting them. The excessive heat made many long for the soothing relief of the rain. Like a prayer answered, the rain came pouring in torrents. But, what was not hope for-rainstorm, caused havoc, making their joy short lived. The rainstorm shook the entire city. It is an incident that the people would have wished away.
The torrential downpour that lasted for about one hour, left in its trail gale of destructions. Scores of residential houses within the metropolis were destroyed, cars were badly damaged, electric poles, trees, electronic score board, bill boards and mast, among others were pulled down by the strong winds. Areas like Taiwo, Unity, Agbo-Oba, Okelele, Alore, Okekere, Baboko, suffered more devastating effect of the rainstorm. Many areas have been thrown into total blackout as a result of the fallen electric poles, thus adversely affecting the socio-economic life of people in the affected areas. Many residents were also stranded as the roof of their houses were either blown off or badly damaged. Some landlords were left in despair owing to their inability to effect repairs due to financial incapacity. It is indeed a traumatic experience for victims.
Some people escaped death by sheer providence during the rainstorm. Tragedy was averted when a colleague who was driving through Osere area on the fateful day, escaped death by the whiskers as a falling concrete electric pole narrowly missed his car.
The state Stadium complex was not spared, the tell tales of the rainstorm is all over the sporting facility that had before now been beckoning for comprehensive renovation.
With this ugly development, comes the need for government assistance in particular. The state government should come to the aid of victims by compensating them with cash and relief materials. The present administration can intervene so that many of those affected do not remain homeless for too long, especially now that building materials are costly. Since, it is the responsibility of government to see to welfare of its citizens, measures should be put in place to ameliorate suffering of the affected people. It is by so doing that government can identify with the plights of the people and bring succour to them. Firstly, government should ensure an assessment and evaluation of the havoc caused by the rainstorm. The office of the Emergency and Relief Services, on its part need to compile lists of victims for adequate and timely compensation. It is duty of the agency to put mechanism on ground to ensure that the affected persons get whatever relief materials/financial assistance they need.
In addition, there is need for urgent repairs and replacement of damaged facilities at the Stadium complex, as the case may be.
So also, public spirited individuals can extend their philanthropy to victims of the rainstorm to bring relief to the people who have suffered devastating experience as a result of the rainstorm.
However, it is common knowledge that rainstorm is a natural incident and as such not much can be done humanly to stop it. It is a phenomenon that we have no control over. Moreso, it has been observed that strong winds associated with rainstorms are feature of early rains. Scientifically, rainstorm has been attributed to the effect of climate change. But, there are ways to tame its destructive effect. One of such is afforestation. Unfortunately, most people are ignorant of the fact that trees serve as windbreaker. It creates a barrier to wind around the house/ structures, thus decreasing its destructive tendencies
Another way to mitigate the effect of storm is to construct structures that can withstand it. Like the saying that prevention is better than cure, it is better to construct buildings that can withstand storm than to rebuild after destruction. Building designs must be such that can respond to climatic challenges and resist adverse weather situations. Roof designs and constructions must be wind resistance to prevent it from being blown off during rainstorm. Periodic maintenance of building should also be considered by house owners. This is because roof coverings and other building materials have specific lifespan after which they must be replaced.