Three die, houses destroyed as Port Harcourt gets first rain

By Tom Amakri, Port Harcourt

Three persons have died following a heavy downpour that occurred on Monday night in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

Apart from those who died, several houses were also destroyed, about seven telecom masts and 25 advertising board felled down by the attendant storm.

Some of the telecom masts and advertising board felled on top of houses, destroying goods and properties worth millions of Naira.

At Nkpolu School, in Port Harcourt City Local Government area, telecom masts felled on top of  16 years old boy who was helping his poor mother to hawk sachet water popularly called pure water, he died instantly.

Two persons who got serious injuries after advertising post felled on top of their houses and    were later rushed to the hospital could not make it, as they were confirmed dead on Tuesday morning

One of the victims, Mr. Ifeanyi Uba whose shop and goods were destroyed after a advertising board felled on the building said two of his staff got injured and were almost trap by the incident.

He said: “ I’m  hoping that the government would come to our aide. Though, I thank God that my staff didn’t die at the shop because when the advertising post felled on the roof, it brought down the building, but we were able to bring them out.

“We described the rain as violence rain; the rain pull down the advertising structure, this bill board has been here for more than 10 years.  I didn’t ask for compensation but they should rebuild the shop because it will cost me more than N3millions to rebuild and I  don’t have that kind of money now.”

Mrs. Marry Ordu who lost her 3 –year- old daughter said she has nothing to say than to ask the owner of the telecom marks to revive her daughter back to live.

The mother of four who was shading tears when The Nation visited   declaimed to speak further, adding that she will kill herself if those who own the mast did not bring her daughter back to live.

Mr. Ifeany Ezeribe, the chairman Nkpolu Traders Association said more N12million worth of goods and properties were destroyed when the advertising post felled on the shops of his colleagues.

He said talk is ongoing with the appropriate authority to ensure proper compensation and rebuilding of the damaged shops.

Ezeribe said: “We are traders, I think what is our priority now is to give the government the detail of what happened especially the cost of goods damaged by the ugly incident.  I was in the police station this morning with the representative of the Rivers State government to see how they can help us.

Visiting the various scenes yesterday, the Managing Director, Rivers State Signage and Advertising Agency (RISAA)  Hon Chukwudi Dimkpa said the rain has exposed advertising  practitioners on the issue of   poor  maintenance.

He said some of the advertising board erected are either faulty from the foundation or over due for maintenance, adding that RISAA will use this opportunity to enforce a policy that will correct all abnormality in the system.

Hon. Dimkpa said: “For now,  the first action is to evacuate what have been damage at the scene  so that it does not cause another problem. We have already finish speaking with the police, we will now go ahead and bring down the structures,.

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