The day was bright and sunny. It was a Tuesday market day at the central part of the city. Everybody went about to his or her daily duties. Workers were in their offices, market men and women in their stalls and sheds, passengers and drivers were on the streets. It was a very busy day.
Suddenly, the clouds gathered and the bright sky darkened. Strong winds began to blow. There was lightening and roaring of thunder. It was about to rain. It was going to be rain storm!
People began to run helter skelter. Market men and women packed up their wares. Motorists and cyclists hurried to safety while passengers ran into waiting vehicles. The rain started with stronger wind, more flashes of lightening and cracks of thunder. Lots of people took shelter in road sides kiosks and shop.
No sooner had rain started than the roads became flooded. The streets became impassable as water entered people’s houses. Some cars and buses were trapped and abandoned on the streets; their drivers ran out to safety as the rain continued to fall.
A three-storey building down the market road collapsed while it was still raining. Many people were trapped in the debris. Perhaps the house was built very low quality materials and could not stand firm in heavy flood. It was a disaster. About four hours later, after it had stopped raining, people came out from their houses and shelters. Some tried to help those trapped in the debris o the collapsed building while others watched helplessly.
The fire services men soon arrived. Someone must have phoned their office. Cranes were used to make rescue work easier, about forty victims-children and adults-were brought out by the fire service and sympathizers. Both the dead and the survivors were taken to in government ambulances to the nearest hospital.
A Mercedes car trapped under the rubbles of the collapsed building was brought out by rescue operators. Valuable property was lost in the incident.
The state president visited the scene the next day. He met some rescue workers still trying to locate persons suspected to be trapped in the building. He expressed sympathy to the victims and promised some financial assistance to the families.
The next day CHIEMERIE’S school closed for the session. His brother decided to take him on a journey to PORT-HARCOURT…
To Be Continued…