Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, on Sunday, continued the search for two residents said to have been swept away by flood at Oyebanjo Solarin Street, in the Ketu area of the state.
However, gathered that neither the agency nor residents of the area could ascertain the identities of the victims. Punchng report.
While some residents told our correspondent that the victims were a father and his child, others said they were young ladies.
LASEMA claimed in a statement that the two missing persons were children, adding that the agency received distress calls about the incident around 8pm on Saturday.
The statement read in part, “The agency received distress calls and on arrival at the scene of the incident, it was discovered that around 8pm on Saturday, two children had been swept away by the flood.
“A joint team of responders comprising LASEMA, Lagos Fire Service and LASAMBUS were at the scene. The agency’s Tiger Team commenced a search-and-rescue operation along the path of the floodwater. Initial observations revealed a sloping topography with a direct channel of drain water into the canal. This has proved to be rather challenging to navigate.”
In a follow-up statement, LASEMA said it extended the search for the victims to around 500-metre radius of the canal and was also enlightening the residents of the area on the effects of flooding on their property.
The statement read in part, “The agency’s response team, led by the Director of Operations, Mr Olatunde Akinsanya, during a more stringent search, extended the search to about 500-metre radius of the canal way, but the two children have yet to be found.
“However, aside the extended radius and inquiries around the neighbourhood about the missing children, the agency is conducting public enlightenment on flooding and its dangerous repercussions to the residents and their property.
“LASEMA also commenced sensitisation in the entire area on the need to desist from, and resist the urge to dispose their domestic and bodily waste in the drainage systems, as it leads to blockage of the canal and water flow, which causes environmental degradation, flooding and eventually leads to disasters, such as death or missing persons, and collapsed buildings.”
Our correspondent, who visited the area on Sunday, spoke to some residents, who gave various accounts about the incident.
One Temitope Adekoya, who claimed to have seen the victims while they were struggling in the floodwater, said they were swept away before other residents could get to the canal to rescue them.
She stated, “The rain started around 8pm and it was much and people could not pass through and those, who tried to pass through the canal took a big risk. It was God who saved a boy as he was going ahead of his family members and almost drowned but for the quick intervention of a lady, quickly pulled him out.
“Around 8.30pm, as we were waiting for the water to go down in front of my shop, we saw two hands raised and two persons struggling in the water; we saw that one of them had a nylon on her head while the second one was using her hand to wade through the water; so, we ran to see if could rescue them, but the water current was too much and they got swept away. The victims were two female adults.”
Another resident, Oladipo Omoneyin, however, told our correspondent that nobody had come to look for any missing person in the area and no residents of the area had complained of looking for their children.
He said, “I learnt that flood swept away some kids and when LASEMA came, they started searching but didn’t find anything, so I left the scene and waited for my friend, who used to park his car in my compound before crossing the canal. When he came, he had to wait a while for the water to go down before he could pass and when he enter the canal, the water still got to his waist.
“I went to the canal again this morning with the mindset that I would see the corpses of the victims, but I didn’t see anything and I’m still hoping that no one gets drowned and the beautiful part of it is that we have not seen any parent, sibling or guardian report that they are looking for anybody, because I think if anybody has lost a child or ward, they should have come to look for them around the canal area.
“The state of the canal is terrible than the way it was before and we assert that the contractor is working at a very slow pace. He said the construction would be completed by six months, but with the way he’s going, I don’t think he can complete it by then because of the number of workers at his disposal and the instruments they are using. The contractor is not moving with time and the construction is causing a lot of inconveniences for people.”
However, the Head of Public Affairs, LASEMA, Nosa Okunbor, stated that the victims had not been found.
“Our responders were given different identities and nobody could ascertain who the victims were until they are discovered, dead, or alive. All of these are just hearsay and nobody can ascertain what transpired, but the search continues,” he stated.