By Mercy Enoch, Asaba
The fear of flood is the beginning of wisdom in flood-prone areas of Nigeria. Now, the Delta State Government is set to establish emergency camps in Asaba, Kwale, Ughelli, Sapele and Warri parts of the state, ahead of the impending flood that had been predicted by the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA)
Ernest Ogwezzy, the state’s commissioner, Bureau for Special Duties, gave the hint when the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) visited him in his office in Asaba.
He recalled that the agency had in its preparedness plan, identified possible safe grounds that could be used to set up Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and had also sent memo to the governor, requesting to stock its warehouse with perishable and non-perishable items to be used as relief items to the prospective victims.
He said that as a result, the Delta State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), felt it was expedient to inform all stakeholders in the state to ensure they were on red alert and all hands on deck in preparing for the flooding that had already commenced as predicted by NIHSA so as to reduce the effect of the flooding to the barest minimum”
Revealing more on the state of preparedness, he said that sensitization jingles were on, to enlighten Deltans, particularly riverine communities of the state on the dangers of the impending flood and for them to evacuate their homes is currently on-going in the State.
He stated that there had been a systematic daily rise in the water levels in Rivers Niger and Benue which he observed, could result in fresh flooding in riverine communities by the banks, adding that the magnitude of such flooding was likely to be compared with the one of 2012.
The commissioner stated that he had been receiving updates concerning the impending flood from various communities across the state to guide the Bureau’s operations.
The local government areas likely to be affected by the flood, according to him, included Oshimili South and North, Isoko South and North, Warri North, Warri South West, Udu, Sapele, Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West, Ughelli South, Bururu, Patani, Aniocha South and Bomadi.
He revealed that cases of flooding were already being recorded in the state as some communities lying along the flood plain included Akaria, Abala-Oshimili, Abalagada, Utchi all in the coaster communities in Ndokwa East Local Government Area had been flooded.
He stated that Oko-Alana, Oko-Odifulu and Phase 2 Anwai in Oshimili South LGA were also flooded and the indigenes of the communities displaced with their houses submerged and properties destroyed owing to the daily rise of the water level.
He expressed the state government’s sincere sympathy with those already affected by the flood and stated that the government would deal with the situation as it had always done in the past.
He called on NEMA for urgently intervention to complement the efforts of the state government to reduce what he described as the effect of the perennial and intractable problem of flooding in the state.
Earlier, the leader of the NEMA delegation to the state, Deputy Director, Special Duties, Fatimah Kasim, stated that the agency was in the state to ascertain the level of preparedness against the impending flood as predicted by NIHSA.
She quoted NIHSA saying that the volume of water at the kanji and the Benue River was higher in the month of September than the month of August, adding that since Delta State was one the state at the coaster line, it had to take proactive measures against the impending flood.
She said that the state government should create adequate awareness, identify stakeholders and sensitize the communities living in the coaster areas to move upland before the flood arrived.