Palpable fear has gripped residents of Agwagune Community in Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State following a devastating landslide which ravaged the community, putting over 2000 houses at risk of collapse.
The landslide which occurred last Saturday was said to have left cracks on the floor across the community even as houses and electric poles are said to be at the brink of collapse.
With this development, over 3,000 persons including women and children may lose their homes.
The recent development seems to be the manifestation of the prediction of the Environmental Assessment Team of NIPPS who visited Agwagune community in 1992, and predicted that five years from the period of the visit Agwagune community would be swept away as a result of landslide. As a result, in 1997 an unprecedented slide destroyed over 30 houses, killing 4 including a pregnant woman and injuring about 48 persons.
The information officer to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Mr. David Akate who was reacting to the development said that NIPPS had scientifically explained that the earth crust on which Agwagune lied was void due to the texture of the soil and that the community was at the verge of being swept into the water by the persistent slide.
When Tribune Online visited the community on Monday, it was observed that residents of the community were in panic, with many relocating to uncompleted structures of the on-going Agwegune landslide rehabilitation site being constructed by the Federal Government in collaboration with the Cross River State Government.
Some residents of the community who spoke with Tribune Online , bemoaned their fate and called for swift intervention.
One of the residents, Kennedy Orok, said the slide had become a daily occurrence as several meters of land have been washed into the river when the rains were intense, adding that the devastating landslide which occurred on Saturday, January 7, 2017 took away a large portion of land causing panic as everyone scampered for safety.
‘’ We were lucky to have escaped unhurt because the impact of the slide would have grounded us. It is a terrible thing and we need urgent intervention before it gets out of hand’’
Another resident, Daniel Ayamba who also spoke in an interview said that they were expecting government to complete the rehabilitation site so as to save them from the ordeal of getting buried by the slide.
Also, Madam Omang Usetu expressed worry that the housing units being constructed would not be enough for the about three thousand families and wondered how she would survive with her children and grand-children.
However, immediate past Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Mr. Vincent Aquah commended the Federal and State Governments for their effort towards the establishment of the rehabilitation site and prayed for more commitment to ensure completion.
The Director General, of SEMA, Mr. John Inaku who visited the community to assess the extent of damage described the situation as horrendous and expressed fear for the safety of the victims.
Inaku, however, advised residents of the community to relocate to safer areas while awaiting government’s intervention.
It could be recalled that the Federal and State Governments had embarked on the construction of about 250 housing units, one and half kilometers away from the troubled land which perennially suffer landslide and flooding.