By Michael Nnebife
Residents of flood-prone communities in Anambra State have no cause to panic and worry about the 2023 impending flood as their basic necessities and lease of life are assured if the flood comes.
The Executive Secretary, Anambra State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Chief Paul Odenigbo, gave the indication in interview in his office at the agency’s headquarters, Awka.
Chief Odenigbo stated that the agency had put up 27 Internally Displaced People’s, IDP, camps across the flood-prone local government areas in the state with necessary arrangements to ensure that individuals likely to be affected enjoyed basic necessities of life till the flood receded.
He said it was normal that at the beginning of every year, NIMET (Nigeria Metrological Agency) raised a prediction on what the weather was likely to be.
‘The idea is to keep us informed so that we start doing what we are supposed to do.
‘When we got it, the first thing we did was to go to the people living in the flood-prone areas in Ayamelum, Ogbaru, Anambra West; Anambra East Local Governments – Anambra North; Awka North Local Government – Anambra Central; and Ekwusigo, Ihiala Local Governments – Anambra South.
‘We’ve gone to sensitize and inform them of what the NIMET had said that will happen, and tell them to get ready for any eventuality.
‘The second thing we’ve done – we’ve prepared 27 holding centres (IDP camps) for them.
‘These are situated across the local government areas I mentioned, except Anambra West; because our experience is that each time flood comes, the entire local government is flooded.
‘So, we bring them out to Anambra East and some of them, to Onitsha. We’re clearing and fumigating the holding centres in readiness to welcoming people who want to stay there once the flood comes. So, we’re preparing in a big way,’ the SEMA boss said.
He emphasized that it was the job of the agency to bring the flood-affected individuals out, keep them in the centres and provide them with basic things of life as long as they were in the camps.
He added, ‘The Ministry of Health is also involved – we give the flood-affected individuals health services to keep them healthy while in the camps, because epidemic normally goes with it (flood).
‘We’ve instituted a task force chaired by the deputy governor. We call it Anambra State Flood Committee. It coordinates the activities of the ministries and agencies fighting the flood,’ he said.
Odenigbo further appealed to affluent individuals and organizations to assist the government in providing food items, mattresses, among others, for the flood victims, noting that the responsibility was a big burden.
He however expressed appreciation to individuals, churches, and other organizations that had supported the agency and government in this regard in the past.