Flood occasioned by weeks of heavy downpour has crippled economic activities in Asaba and its environs in Delta.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that only businesses on Summit Road, Nnebisi Road and Ibusa Road were spared as other roads and streets in the metropolis have remained flooded.
Okpanam Road, which leads to the Governor’s Lodge, Government House, House of Assembly, Police Command headquarters and legislators’ quarters, to Cable Point market, Building Materials market on Asaba-Onitsha expressway and other businesses were not spared by the flood.
The situation is the same on DLA road, Umuagwu, Zappa and in-land town areas as the flood has forced many shops to close down while those that managed to open had no patronage.
At the main market in the city, Ogbeogonogo, part of it is often flooded, a situation that has forced some traders to take refuge in shops of their “fortunate” colleagues where they are squatting for a fee.
Some of the traders lamented that the flood had destroyed their goods while some complained that their locations had been made inaccessible due to the flooding in most parts of the city.
Mr Ubaka Chijindu, a cement and wood dealer at the building materials market, told NAN that for the more than 15 years he had been in business in the Delta capital, he had never experienced flooding as he had this year.
He lamented that flood had destroyed many bags of cement in his shop, located on the ground floor of a one-storey building.
Chijindu said that his stock of wood was also affected by the flood, adding that it was often difficult to salvage any item ``because most of the times, the rain falls in the night and even in the day, it is also usually very heavy.’’
At the Cable Point market, most traders, especially those operating in open shops, have been sacked by the flood, making activities at the market very low.
One of the traders at the market, Mrs Susan Okwara, said her tomatoes and pepper business had suffered much setback as a result of the situation in the market.
She noted that there was no “free or safe place” for traders to display their wares in the market, adding that the situation was already affecting the upkeep of families as most of them depended on their petty businesses.
Another trader, Eunice Abraham, said that she had been suffering losses to flood in her provisions business but that the worst experience was on Wednesday, when almost her entire stock was swept away.
She appealed to the state government to urgently tackle the flood problem, saying that it had also sacked many people from their homes.
Emeka Ani, a second-hand clothes and shoes dealer in Umuagwu area, described the flood situation in the town as “a big menace” which had affected many businesses and homes.
He wondered what the government was doing to mitigate the situation, saying: “at times, I imagine if family members of people in government do not go to the markets or see the situation.
``One expected that something serious ought to have been done to arrest the problem other than the drainage project which is taking more than two years to be completed.’’
At the about two-kilometre DLA Road, half of it which leads to Ibusa Road has been taken over by flood since May, thereby, rendering that part of the road impassable.
The situation on the road is worsened by its poor state. Like most roads in the city, it is riddled with big pot holes with greater part destroyed by erosion.
All business concerns, including workshops, barbing saloons and supermarkets have virtually closed down as people no longer go near the area.
Two persons, a welder and mechanic whose workshops are located around Chukie Hotel on the road, said that they could not remember the last time people brought jobs for them to do.
The duo, Eugene Ubochi and Ike Ujom, said that their workshops had remained flooded since the rainy season began, adding that they had remained there because they had no money to rent another workshop elsewhere in the town.
Shop owners and other artisans on the road told NAN that their businesses were threatened by the situation of the road and appealed to the government to give attention to it.
NAN also reports that a drainage project, which the government said would address the flood problem in the capital city, had been ongoing since 2010.
When contacted, Mr Frank Omare, the state Commissioner for Environment, told NAN on telephone that he was out of town and could not respond to the enquiries.
``You know that a drainage project is in progress and it is targeted at solving the problem,’’ he, however, said.
At the office of the contractor handling the project, Modis Nig Ltd., located close to Nelrose Hotel on Illah Road, all the officials, including the Project Manager, declined to comment.