With constant rains hitting the South East region, the people of Mdvene Community, a small area that lies between Udi and Nkanu West local government areas of Enugu State, are now living in fears.
Erosion has thrown great panic to the community as what appeared like a landslide has kept on devastating their land.
But the state government through the Enugu State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) described the occurrence as a land shift.
The Executive Secretary of SEMA, Nkechi Eneh, in a public announcement informed road users and the general public of “a minor earth shift on the hillside along the Udi-4 Corner axis, saying that the government has taken note of the problem and ready to provide a solution to it.
She, therefore, advised the public to exercise caution while using the road, saying that the state government was working with all relevant stakeholders to remedy the situation in the shortest possible time.
When Plusmila.com visited the Mdvene Community last week, it was discovered that the minor landslide caused by deadly erosion has forced the earth holding the trees together to fall apart, which caused the panic amongst motorists and motorcyclists.
The community, which is less than 10 kilometres from the country home of former governor of Enugu State, Chief Sullivan Chime, has lost so much farmland to the ravaging erosion.
But fortunately for the community, the landslide occurred in the hinterland, the area surrounded by forests, where no one is living.
The incident affected the road linking the two local governments of Udi and Nkanu West.
Thus the road could pose grave danger at night for road users who are new to the community and for reckless drivers who could crash if the earth which has been forcing itself towards the road eventually blocks it up completely.
Also the residents, who live more than 800 metres from the hillside, are worried about what would happen to the land with the increasing rains and the fast moving earth shift that is trying to block the road.
However, young men from the community who apparently do not want their area to be swept off by the earth shift have risen to the occasion by trying to push back the earth away from the road every morning.
As they mobilize for the task, road users dish out little amount of money to them to encourage them.
But as they work hard to save the road, the running water, which appears to be flowing from a spring inside the forest, continues to force earth back to the road.
According to the natives, the earth shift occurred because of the heavy rain which caused the solid matter previously holding the hill to be loose, thereby leading to the earth and rock to cave in.
Motorists and motorcyclists who spoke to Oriental News lamented that the level of accidents and robbery in the area has increased.
They said that robbers occasional come to the spots at night to attack and rob people.
One of the motorcyclists said: “These areas have become an ugly sight. No driver or rider would want to stop you here, especially the area around the culvert where water from the top of the hill continues to push rocks to the road.
“At night, it is worse. First, the place is terrifying and at certain hours, no one would agree to carry you across there, no matter the price. Seriously, no driver would want to risk his life. The landslides happen at three main spots, with little ones from the other parts, but the panic is that if something is not done about it, it could escalate. The road could be blocked by rocks and for careless drivers whom we can’t exclude; they stand to risk their lives.”
Another motorist, Mr Chisom Idika, expressed concern over the situation that has left road users to live in fear of the unknown.
He narrated that even when vehicles are not on top speed, when they get to the main spots around the culvert they would speed up out of fear.
“The truth about the situation is that the drivers are afraid. If your car breaks down around that point, it would be difficult for you to get help. No matter how innocent you look or your attire, nobody would give you a lift. Who doesn’t cherish his life? Besides, most of those that have taken to the roads are family men. Occasionally, we have had cases of armed robbery and accidents around the region because drivers, especially women are too afraid to slow down. So, if you are speeding and the other one too is on the same speed or a higher one, they would be a collision. Looking at the three areas where the landslides have taken place, you would see that water is constantly coming out from there.
“It is as if there is a spring up there, but no one knows. People seldom go up there because it is too risky. All we can say for now is that erosion and the heavy rain that have hit the hill for the past three weeks have softened the earth, and displaced the connecting tissue that was supposed to glue the falling rocks to the hill.
“The community is very lucky because if there was any house on this hill, the foundation would have been shaken by now. It is imperative for the government to expedite action in Mdvene. They need to respond to the situation as quickly as possible because what we have there is big gully erosion.
“The government has been dilly-dallying over this problem. I have not noticed their concrete presence here. Any effort to restore the road so that movement and traffic would continue to flow accordingly is to be done holistic by first combing the forest to locate the source of the water so that we would know if indeed it is a spring or just water flowing from scattered sources.
“Again, there should be a total covering of the falling wall and proper erosion channels. If the government wants to work on the place, I think they would know how to handle it better, but I do not want to see a short-term erosion control that would collapse within four years,” he said.