With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
Residents of Ilorin, Kwara State are finding it difficult to put behind them the devastating effect of the rainstorm that wreak havoc in parts of the metropolis, penultimate Tuesday.
It would be recalled that 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, giant bill boards and mast, among others were pulled down by the strong winds.
While many victims of the disaster are still counting their losses, many residents of the metropolis are battling power outage as parts of the state capital have been thrown into darkness since the incident.
The development is a consequence of the effect of the rainstorm on electrical installations supplying electricity to various parts of llorin. The storm also damaged scores of electricity poles throughout length and breadth of the city.
The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), also disclosed that the rainstorm crashed the network of its Baboko District, which supplies power to larger part of llorin.
Unfortunately, the power outage, is coming at a time when residents were heaving sighs of relief over seeming improved electricity supply in the state capital. However, many people are groaning over the power situation, which is affecting their standard of living. The blackout, is no doubt, taking a toll on the socio-economic life of the affected areas.
Areas such as Aduralere, Olunlade, Odota, Mandate, Alore, Gaa-Akanbi, Pakata and Islamic Village, to mention but a few, are still in darkness. Though most other areas within the metropolis suffered outage for about five days after the rainstorm, the residents now enjoy supply as IBEDC has restored supply in those places.
Several business owners are bemoaning the economic impact of the power outage. Many business operators have since been running generators, and the cost of fuel has eaten deep into their profit. The power outage has paralysed the business activities of entrepreneurs who cannot afford the alternative source of power supply as some of them have closed shops pending the time electricity will be restored to their areas. Many artisans such as welders, barbers, refrigerator and electronic technicians and frozen food sellers are now idle, as there is no power to carry on their businesses.
Housewives are not spared of the ordeal, which is resultant of the rainstorm; many of them have their frozen foods spoilt owing to the lingering power outage and as such, finding it hard to preserve perishables. A friend residing in Olorunsogo area lamented that she had to throw away tonnes of refrigerated foods few days ago due to the power outage. She now buys her food items in bits instead of bulk, which according to her is not economically good. Like her, many households in the affected areas pay more for what they would have bought cheaply, if purchased in bulk. To prevent perishable goods from wasting, some combat it by spending more on generators. This will inadvertently affect household budgeting, dipping hole into pocket of an average family man, as it is additional expenses. So also, in the interim the responsibility of providing power has fallen on the people themselves. At nights, residents of the affected area go to mosques, barbershops, viewing centres, etc to queue in order to charge their phones and other devices.
The power outage has also compounded the problem of people in the affected areas with the sweltering heat experienced particularly at night, thus making living unbearable. In addition, residents of the affected areas are also being encumbered with even greater risks owing to noise, and air pollution as a result of the use of power generating sets. It is common knowledge that the noises, as well as the pollution that emanates from power generating set constitute health hazards. From the foregoing, it’s obvious that the effect of the blackout affect cross section of people in the society, hence the need for the problem to be addressed urgently by restoring power as quickly as possible to areas that are still in darkness in the aftermath of the rainstorm, by the DISCO.
Understandably, 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 the early rains. Therefore, it is for this reason that the distribution company must be prepared for such eventualities. There should also be rapid response to situations such as this to prevent protracted blackout in parts of the state after rainstorm. IBEDC companies should also ensure periodic maintenance of its electrical installation, as a stitch in time saves nine.