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JDPC Onitsha visited the sites of the fire disasters to console the victims and carry out physical evidence assessment on the two fire disasters that caused loss of lives and destruction of goods and properties in some parts of Ochanja market, Ziks Avenue, Iweka Road, Amobi and Emobi Streets, and some residential buildings all in Onitsha South LGAs on Wednesday, 16th October 2019, and another in Omagba on Friday, 18th October 2019. It was confirmed that the two different tankers laden with fuel at two different locations fell on the Enugu–Onitsha express way and spilled their contents, which moved through the public gutters to the areas of destruction. Consequently, their contents were ignited along the way through the gutters destroying goods, market items, furniture and domestic items.

Pre-assessment visit

As part of our entry strategy, JDPC Onitsha visited the Ochanja market leaders, on 18th and 21st October to discuss our intention to carry out evidence based assessment, to take count of the damages and reach out to the victims directly in order to ascertain the level of destruction to their businesses, residential apartments and buildings. An Emergency and Humanitarian Response Questionnaire was used to collect individual data from the victims.

Objectives of the visit

  • To console the victims of the inferno.
  • To ascertain and gather information on the affected populations and level of damages in the affected areas.
  • To seek collaboration and advice for a successful assessment.


Visit to the scene of the fire accident

JDPC Onitsha mobilized 5 and 15 community volunteers to incident locations in Omagba and Ochanja respectively. On Friday, October 18, the assessment team visited the two locations simultaneously to engage community and market leaders, and the victims with the aim of carrying out assessment of the areas to ascertain the level of destruction. On Monday, the 21stof October, another round of assessment was carried out in Ochanja market where some parts of Zik’s Avenue, Emodi and Amobi Streets were badly affected, while a few shops were affected on Iweka road. Consequently, traders who deal on footwear and clothing were weighty victims of the incident. JDPC collected information on each of the individual victims, type of items destroyed, amount and cost of the items destroyed, if anyone or organization has collected this data previously, and if support has come in this regard.

JDPC Onitsha collaborated with the President of Ochanja central market and the inaugurated committee for the incident, in identifying individuals who have shops in the market and whose items or goods were destroyed by fire, otherwise, to know those that have suffered loss. In each of the buildings or plazas affected, JDPC Onitsha used Emergency and Humanitarian Response Questionnaire to collect information upon identification of the victim’s shop, and this must be confirmed by the line chairman and a good number of other traders in the building.

Objective of the physical evidence and assessment

  • To collect evidence based information in order to identify actual victims.
  • To determine the extent of damage in the locations.
  • To seek for support for the fire victims in order to alleviate their impending sufferings.


From our findings, it was discovered that:

  1. Over N1 billion worth of goods and properties were damaged.
  2. Over 1, 200 persons were directly affected.
  3. Over 800 shops and cottage stores were destroyed by fire
  4. 2 residential buildings were razed.
  5. A total of 6 commercial buildings and plazas were partial burnt

A total of 6 commercial buildings and plazas were completely razed.


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