The ravaging flood which started last month has partitioned oil-rich South-South geo-political zone into three parts and turned the East-West Road, the only highway linking the six states of the region, into a river.
As at yesterday, Edo and Delta states were on one side, having been cut off from Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states. Bayelsa is isolated, as people could not access the state from neighboring Rivers State.
Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states are the only three states in the South-South where people could pass through via the East-West Road.
Vanguard reporters who went on a tour of the East-West Road, yesterday, discovered that flood had cut off the road at Uwheru in Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State. They had to board a boat to get to Patani, the boundary town between Delta and Bayelsa states.
At Patani, the reporters took another boat to cross over to Bayelsa State, but could not get to Rivers State, as the road had been severed between Mbiama and Ahoada.
East-West Road no longer passable
It was gathered that to get to Rivers State, transporters and other motorists from Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states have to pass through the South-East states of Anambra, Abia and Imo, as East-West Road is no longer passable.
Delta State portion of the East-West Road appears to be the worst hit with boat drivers and motorcyclists making brisk business, while some youths have built makeshift wooden bridges and collect toll of N100 from pedestrians before passage.
At Uwheru, our reporters joined other travelers to cross the “River Jordan” created by flood on the East-West Road before boarding a boat to Ohoror, also in Ughelli North Local Government Area.
From Ohoror, they took another boat across Umeh community to Aven, near Patani, from where motorcyclists took them to Patani town.
At Patani, where the former national president of Ijaw Youth Council, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, had, through his nongovernmental organization, Rural Health Africa Initiative, RAHI, set up a relief camp for flood victims from Patani, Buluangiama, Abari and other affected communities in Delta State, the devastation was enormous.
Dr. Ekiyor, whose residence in Patani is under water, told Vanguard that since the flood started, the East-West Road had been cut off.
He said: “I was in New York when I got information that flood had sacked my community. I had to rush down to Nigeria. I took a flight to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, but I could not cross to Bayelsa to get to Delta State.
“I abandoned my car at Ahoada area with my driver and stripped myself to my boxers to cross the river on East-West road to a point where I was able to board a boat and later found myself in Patani.
“I have been here in Patani for more than three weeks, trying to assist the flood victims. We have been cut off from other parts of the state and the South-South zone. You can see the situation yourself.”
Ekiyor wondered why the Federal Government had not gone to fix the East-West Road, saying that when flood cut off Kogi-Abuja expressway, the Federal Government quickly intervened.
“Why is the situation different in the case of East-West Road? Are they saying they are not aware?” he asked.
He said that bringing relief materials to the victims in the RAHI flood camp was difficult, as people, including government officials could not access the place because of flood.