By Chizoba Anekwe
With a view to checkmating the expected menace of flood in some areas in the state, the Anambra State Government has set up over twenty holding places where persons displaced by flood can stay until things normalize. The state Commissioner for Environment, Arc Mike Okonkwo, who disclosed this, also announced the de-silting of blocked channels in the state, eradication of illegal structures, sensitization of the flood prone communities through the combined efforts of SEMA and NEMA to forewarn and prepare the concerned communities for the inevitable flood.
The commissioner who stated this in Onitsha during the dumpsite monitoring and inspection of de-silting works at strategic locations in Onitsha and environs, said the state had also established an early warning system through NEWMAP in order to prepare the people against impending flooding.
Architect Okonkwo said that the inspection was partly in commemoration of World Clean-Up Day and also in tandem with the mission and vision of Gov Willie Chief Willie Obiano to provide the citizenry with a safe, clean and healthy environment.
Okonkwo who described flooding as an inevitable natural disaster, however commended the present administration's commitment to ensure that the state was prepared in case of eventual occurrence, as well as reduce any casualties.
Addressing volunteers from men of Nigerian Army, 14 Field Engineering Regiment, and corps members serving in Onitsha North Council Area, who came out en mass to de-silt Park Road Government Reserved Area, Onitsha, Okonkwo reiterated the importance of ridding water channels of dirt, with the excavated waste being effectively disposed.
He however commended their efforts to assist the government to keep the flood away and appreciated their efforts with several cartons of malt drinks and snacks.
The leader of the combined work group at the place, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Momoh, who said he spoke in the spirit of Civil Military Relationship, spoke on the essence of a clean environment, noting that his unit was poised to partnering with the state government in policies that bred development.
The Commissioner and his entourage also made a stopover at Iweka Road and Main Market Roundabout, where inappropriately pasted posters and stickers were removed.
At the Nkwelle-Ezunaka dumpsite, Okonkwo decried the indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the road side by contractors, thereby cutting off the access road. He then ordered the contractor to stop further dumping of waste at the site and ensure that the blocked road was cleared with immediate effect.
'It is quite unfortunate that the contractor in charge of the Nkwelle-Ezunaka dumpsite has basically turned the access road to a dumpsite, this is highly unacceptable. I thereby shut down this dumpsite and direct that all wastes be diverted to Owelle dumpsite, while the erring contractor rectifies the menace with immediate effect,' Okonkwo concluded.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Environment, Mr. Stanley Nkwoka, stressed on the cultivating of proper waste management method to meet with the expectations of the present administration.