BY Johnbosco Agbakwuru
CALABAR – No fewer than four persons were feared dead, while over 20 others sustained various degrees of injuries in windstorms that ravaged communities in some local government areas of Cross River State in the last one week.
Meanwhile, fire has gutted a one storey building housing Saint Benedict’s Cathedral, Ogoja, where the Cathedral Administrator, Rev. Fr. George Cholpa and other priests working at the cathedral live and property worth millions of naira lost to the inferno.
A similar incident destroyed about 40 houses and displaced over 500 persons in Mbarakom, Akamkpa Local Government Area of the state, a few weeks ago. A 10-year-old girl, Miss Blessing Ekong, also sustained spinal cord injury in the storm.
It was gathered that three of the windstorm victims died when tree trunks and walls of residential buildings fell on them while the fourth was killed by lightening. The injured are being treated in both orthodox and traditional hospitals but one with a fractured skull was referred to a specialist hospital in Enugu for surgery.
Narrating his experience, Mr. Samuel Edom, a brother to a 60-year-old deceased, Mr. Ekam Ekpishoko, from Egoja-Ndim in Ogoja Local Government Area, said residents of the community scampered for safety when the cloud of rain enveloped the community.
Edom said: “The rain came down few minutes later in an unprecedented manner amidst windstorm that appeared ready to bring down the entire community. My brother was in his room with his family while I was in mine in the same building when suddenly I heard a loud sound of a tree falling and our home came crumbling.”
He said a 22 feet tall historic tree, which stood about 20 metres from the house, was uprooted by the storm and in the process of falling, crushed other nearby smaller trees including palm trees and mango trees, bringing down surrounding houses.