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article imagePhoto Essay: Eleyele Dam — Painful memories of flood disasters Special

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 19, 2012 in Environment
The Eleyele Dam is the source of drinking water for the parts of the city of Ibadan the Water Corporation of Oyo State's water pipe lines serve, and this is a dwindling section of the city whose growth has outpaced WCOS's extension of its water pipelines.
Besides being a major source of water and a fisheries resource for the city, the Eleyele Dam is also associated with painful memories that the lush green scenery at the dam belies. In the last two rainy seasons, August 2011 and July 2012, overflowing of the dam after hours of torrential rainfall led to some of the worst incidents of flooding in the city.
The 2011 flood was the worst. It affected a substantial area of the city: Eleyele, adjoining areas such as Apete, and other areas through which the river and its major tributaries pass, such as Onipepeye, Oke Ayo, Yemetu, Bodija Estate, Olomi, Apete, Odo Ona-Elewe and Omi-Adio.
The Eleyele Dam  Ibadan
The Eleyele Dam, Ibadan
Eleyele  Ibadan
Eleyele, Ibadan
Apete, a fast growing area of the city adjoining Eleyele, was literally sacked by the flood with the bridge linking the community to the city washed away.
Authorities report that about 20 people were killed and thousands displaced. Local residents, however, insisted that the authorities under-reported the deaths. BBC quoted a figure of 120 people, a disproportionate number of them children.
The water oveflowed during the night while people slept in their homes and wreaked havoc. Similarly, in 2012, more than 100 people died. The last time the city saw such flood disasters was in 1980 at the historic Ogunpa flood disaster in which hundreds perished.
Local authorities blame the floods on combination of natural and man-made factors, especially the clogging of the city's channels into which the dam should overflow in case of heavy rainfall.
Eleyele  Ibadan
Eleyele, Ibadan
Eleyele Dam  Ibadan
Eleyele Dam, Ibadan
Eleyele Dam
Eleyele Dam
An official of the Nigerian relief agency, Oluwole Parker, narrated to the BBC the tragic case of a family with eight children who lived close to the dam in a corrugated shack. According to Parker, when the water surged, the family had no chance of escape: "As they were struggling to come out from their homes, they were pushed back. We found their bodies the next day."
Witnesses described cars floating in water and churches located close to the dam totally submerged. Digital Journal reporter witnessed the flooding of the Tewogbade brigde in 2011.
Similarly in July 2012, when the dam overflowed, three bodies, including that of a man who was allegedly preparing for his wedding ceremony, were recovered from the Dandaru stream, near Mokola, Ibadan.
Fishing canoes
Fishing canoes
Eleyele  Ibadan
Eleyele, Ibadan
The victims were identified as a police sergeant Ojo Adelusi, and two cousins, Wole Iyiola and Sunkanmi Iyiola. The two cousins, one of whom was reportedly about to be married, were reportedly swept away by the flood on Tewogbade bridge in Bodija, in the evening. An emotional crowd witnessed the recovery of the bodies. According to the local media, the Iyiola cousins were going to a night club late in the night when they drove into the torrent at the bridge.
A resident of Ibadan, Ebun, comments that it is an irony that after two major incidents in 2011 and 2012, families still live close to the dam and its tributaries. She said in bewilderment: "Some of them lost everything, yet they have stayed."
But one may wonder, why has the state government allowed the recurrence of Eleyele flood disasters in the city?
The woods along the dam
The woods along the dam
Eleyele Dam
Eleyele Dam
A fisherman on his way to the dam
A fisherman on his way to the dam
A church conveniently situated for baptismal rites. Many of the church buildings were destroyed in 2...
A church conveniently situated for baptismal rites. Many of the church buildings were destroyed in 2011 flood. This one has been partially restored
The state government blamed the Federal Government, saying it failed to keep its promise to assist the state. According to state authorities, the reconstruction and building of new bridges, roads and culverts, the required dredging and channelization work would cost N20 billion. The state government said it was unable to foot the bill on its own.
The cultivated trees form a canopy that prevents sunlight penetration  thus the forest floor has onl...
The cultivated trees form a canopy that prevents sunlight penetration, thus the forest floor has only scanty vegetation
Eleyele Dam  Ibadan
Eleyele Dam, Ibadan
Eleyele  Ibadan
Eleyele, Ibadan
According to state officials, the state government sought the assistance of the World Bank which agreed to grant N200 million emergency relief fund to be used for the building a channel on the 30 kilometer Ona River and complete the channelization of the Upper Ogunpa River. According to the state government, the Eleyele Dam has not been silted in almost 50 years.
Reconstruction and channelization work is going on at the moment. Digital Journal reporter confirmed that the reconstruction of the Tewogbade bridge in Bodija is almost complete.
Eleyele  Ibadan
Eleyele, Ibadan
Eleyele  Ibadan
Eleyele, Ibadan
Eleyele  Ibadan
Eleyele, Ibadan
Eleyele  Ibadan
Eleyele, Ibadan
Needless effort was expended in a debate whether the flood was a natural disaster or man-made disaster. According to a state commissioner, "The major aspect of it is really related to building on waterways and inappropriate refuse disposal. People disposing of their rubbish in drains and people building in the waters path."
He concluded in an interview with the BBC that it was a natural disaster "assisted by man-made factors."
An old abandoned sales outlet of the Oyo State Fisheries Department
An old abandoned sales outlet of the Oyo State Fisheries Department
W.C.O.S s reservoir
W.C.O.S's reservoir
Empty fishmongers  stalls. It isn t the fishing season
Empty fishmongers' stalls. It isn't the fishing season
Quaint-looking old colonial buildings of the WCOS
Quaint-looking old colonial buildings of the WCOS
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