The Anambra State Government says the ongoing flooding in parts of the state has assumed a monumental dimension.
Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, the Deputy Governor, who said this in an interview in Awka, the state capital, on Sunday, October 9, 2022, submitted that the deaths, destruction of property and livelihood were no longer tolerable, and that time had come for the Federal Government to engage Cameroonian authorities in diplomatic discussions for systematic release of water from their dams.
He said dredging of the River Niger had become imperative as a strategy to reduce the effect of flood sustainably and reduce the volume of overflow.
“This is monumental, it is the worst we have seen in recent time, lives have been lost, properties have been destroyed and economic activities, including farmlands have been washed away by this flood.
“Time has come for the Federal Government to discuss with the Cameroonian authorities on how to manage the release of water from their dams, this should not be allowed anymore,” he said.
Ibezim said the volume of flood had overstretched the rescue and intervention plan of the state as each day came with new challenges.
He said the government was doing its best with assistance from private sector driven groups, noting that it was time the Federal Government waded in to help contain the situation.
According to him, some of the IDPs camps have been flooded, like the ones in Ogbaru has been sacked, the entire area has been overrun by water.
“Intervention needs are increasing; we are supplying live jackets to reduce risk for those using boats and canoes to migrate; we are providing water to those in camps because there is no potable water in all the affected local government areas.
“Food demand has increased because the farms have been cut off while more people are entering the camps, they need medicals, beddings and other items,” he said.
Ibezim urged friends and relations of affected people to graciously extend invitations to them and welcome them if they sought accommodation in their homes to reduce the pressure in the Holding Camps across the state.
In a related development, the Governor, Rotary International District 9142, Mrs Grace Okaro, has urged all tiers of government to aid victims of flood disaster in Anambra.
Okaro also appealed to Mr Charles Soludo, Anambra Governor, to hasten actions to ameliorate the flood victims’ plight.
Okaro, who made the plea in a statement made available in Awka, said that the District planned to send relief intervention to the victims since they were under her jurisdiction.
Okaro said that the government and Rotary club could aid states along the riverbanks by providing a sustainable solution to the preventable loss of lives and property annually.
The statement also noted that the flood was reported to have ravaged more than six local government areas of Anambra State.
“It was a great disaster that caused the loss of over eighty lives, the displacement of about 50,000 persons.
“The flood had destroyed many farmlands, crops, schools, hospitals, markets, churches and houses in the riverine areas of Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ogbaru, Awka North and Idemili North Local Government Areas,” she said.
Okaro said that much could be achieved through Rotary International intervention and government commitment to bridge the annual avoidable disaster.
She commended the efforts of the Government, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Anambra State Emergency Management Agency and other public-spirited individuals in ameliorating the pathetic situation of the victims.
She stated that Rotary District 9142 would step in to provide necessary interventions to the victims since Anambra State was one of the states constituting the District.
She directed the District Committee to set up the 2022 Anambra State Flood Disaster Response to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of flood-ravaged areas and their victims and send in their report on pressing intervention areas for the club.
She urged all Rotary Members and friends to lend their support by rallying round the Committee to provide succour to the victims.
By Chimezie Anaso and Joy Mbachi