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Thunderstorm destroys 200 houses in Warri

The thunderstorm accompanied by heavy downpour has destroyed over 200 buildings in two communities of Udu Local Government Area of Delta State. The affected buildings included residential buildings, churches, and schools thereby resulting in hundreds of people homeless. The communities affected are Ogbe-Udu and Oghior. Over 190 buildings at Ogbe-Udu was affected while in Oghior about 15 buildings were affected.

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The rainstorm blew through the villages leaving a most devastating sight with farmlands harbouring crops worth millions of naira in total ruins. When the team of government officials led by Hon. Peter Okagbare Uviejitobor, the member representing Udu in the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Onajite Brown,  Executive Chairman of Udu Local Government Area, Chief Amos Itiwhe, Commissioner on the Board of the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, and others led newsmen on a visit to Ogbe-Udu community, ruins of buildings, pieces of corrugated iron sheets and shattered pieces of woods littered everywhere.

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The tornado-like windstorm with its characteristic violent cyclone movement, known in local parlance as ‘Aziza wind’, carried the whole roof off some buildings, took them into the sky, danced angrily with the affected roofs before coming down heavily on other buildings many distances away, creating more devastation at the landing points. The angry hurricane with its tempestuous, wild and violent mood pulled down walls of buildings, uprooted pillars of a building in unbelievable manners and in some instances brought down palm trees, which landed heavily on buildings as in the instance of the Ogbe-Udu Secondary Schools, where a palm tree tore off the roof and part of the wall of the building.

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At God’s Power Mission, an entire stretch of the wall of the Church building, already taken to lintel level was brought down by the whirlwind, leaving twisted rods, and shattered blocks in its trails. God’s Favour Schools, a private school in the town was a total wreck when the team visited. The entire buildings housing the various classrooms were reduced to rubbles by the uncontrollable anger of the winds with the proprietress crying for help so she could stand to her feet again. Even the most elderly man of the community, Pa. Otakoha Oluku was not spared from the wrath of the evil wind as part of the roof of his building was also blown off.

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At the government-owned Ogbe-Udu Primary School, the roof of an adjoining building outside the school compound was tossed completely into the air, carried into the school compound and crushed one of the school building before rising up like a wicked deity on a vindictive mission, danced furiously in the air again before landing on another building about half a kilometer away. A section of the roof of St. Thomas’ Anglican Church, Ogbe-Udu was also affected.

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Eyewitness account says that the tornado tossed roofs of several buildings in the air like the hat of an inebriated drunk, which in some instances clashed midway in a violent manner before landing, leaving the affected roofs in wreckages of mangled metals and woods. However,  no life was lost.

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Deacon Godwin Okomitete says that the devastation and experience of the people since the unfortunate incident happened was overwhelming, adding that it was the first of its kind in the community. He disclosed that many people slept in the cold that night while hundreds of others, particularly the indigent ones who have been suffering from untold hardship since the visit of the malevolent hurricane. He appealed to the local government, state and federal governments to come to the aid of the affected villagers so they could have succor and be restored to their normal life. Bishop Ebrubakijesu Sele, whose Church building was brought down by the hurricane also appealed to the government to intervene so as to help give his congregation a befitting place of worship.

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Hon. Peter Uviejitobor of the Delta State House of Assembly, responding to the appeal, assured that he was going to do everything within his powers to give the people all the support government could muster, nothing that the relevant agencies in Delta State would step in to help the people.

Source: Independent

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