Flood: NEMA monitors water level, state govts take pro-active steps

Posted by News Express | 28 September 2015 | 4,151 times

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the South-South Zone says it is monitoring the water level in the flood prone areas to check any adverse effect on the people and the environment.

The South-South Zonal Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Benjamin Oghenah, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that flood situation in the zone had not reached an emergency level.

Some state governments in the south-south zone said they have taken proactive measures to check imminent flooding should the water level increase.

Oghenah said in Port Harcourt that hydrologists check the flood level in the zone three times a week.

“The flood level is raising everyday but it has not reached emergency level according to the information I received from the hydrologists that check it weekly.

“We got information that the flood level in Agenebode, Edo State has affected their farm lands; we pray that it will not get to their houses as we experience rain daily in the area.”

The coordinator expressed worry that sand and dirt had blocked the drainage system in some states in the Zone, making it impossible for rainwater to flow.

“The drains in the South-South Zone need to be maintained, to save the area from flooding; some of these drains have gone beyond the citizens.

“They don’t have tools to evacuate sand and waste from the drains and that makes it needful for government to intervene to maintain it and control flood.”

Oghenah said that those living along flood prone areas had not relocated since water level had not risen in the area, though there were speculations to that.

“States in this zone are making preparations in case there is flood though it may come or not because rain falls every day.

“Delta State has a place for people to relocate in case there is flood, Rivers is also preparing a place among others.”

The coordinator commended the Rivers State Government for sponsoring awareness campaigns and warning citizens against blocking drains and to be sanitation conscious.

“We are happy that the awareness is being sustained; the state government is able to sponsor a lot of jingles on air.

“We think that the citizens will hear this and adhere to the warnings against blocking drains.”

In Delta, the Commissioner for Environment, Chief John Nani said that the state government had introduced a compulsory mid-month environmental sanitation to complement the monthly sanitation as a measure to check flooding.

The commissioner told NAN in Asaba that human activities were the major cause of drainage blockages and flooding.

“So, the State Ministry of Environment in collaboration with other relevant agencies embark on mid-month environmental sanitation across the state to enhance sanitation and prevent flooding in the state.”

He said that the state government in line with the predictions of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) sensitised all communities living in the coastal regions of the state in their own languages.

He noted that the state government had designated four stadia and procured mattresses and other materials ahead of the expectations should the predictions come true.

“Delta has been commended by the South-South Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) who was in the state to monitor the level of preparations.

“We have embarked on evacuation of drains and designated four stadia for the evacuation of flood victims should the flood come to ameliorate the impact against the backdrop of 2012 incident.

“The state government had earlier embarked on public enlightenment of those living along the coastal lines, urging them to move out to the upland areas.”

Nani said that he had personally gone to inspect the Oko community to see how the coastal erosion was eating the place and had advised them to move to the upland.

He said that NiMet`s early warning and the building of a buffer dam by the Federal Government to take some of the water would reduce the impact of the flooding in the community.

Nani said that the state had set up mobile courts to try and prosecute environmental offenders and warned people to obey NEMA`s call by leaving the low coastline to the upland areas.

“Wastes should be properly disposed and people should obey the legislation in place in line with sanitation laws.

“And I must warn that there are legislation in place and anyone caught violating the environmental laws would be arrested and prosecuted in line with the provisions of the law of the state.”

A former Delta Commissioner for Agriculture and former State Chairman, All Famers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr. Jerry Ossai, noted that proper approach to flood challenges would be the solution to flooding.

He said though he was not a member of the state flood committee, he was engaged to assist the committee with relevant information in the management of the flood victims.

He said that available information revealed that the committee received about N500 million as intervention from the Federal Government with which the committee purchased relief materials such as mattresses, foodstuffs, drugs among others.

The former commissioner said some big farmers who were greatly impacted by the flood received N1 million while others got lesser amount as compensation with other farming communities received assistance such as seed yams, groundnuts, plantains, vegetables.

“The solution is in proper intervention such as dredging of the River Niger and making it low to accommodate excess water to make for navigations.

“Beside, the creeks should be cleared, the rural people adequately sensitised not only through radio jiggles because most rural communities do not have access to radio.

“The ministry must move from one coastal community to another, employ, town criers to warn people.”

Ossai also called on government to take a firm stand to demolish houses built on water ways and restrict people from building on water channels.

He urged the government to build the proposed emergency relief camps at various designated points in the state, equip them with the modern facilities, such as permanent camps to cater for victims.

In Cross River, the state government said it has, so far, recorded two deaths as a result of flooding in the state.

Mr. Vincent Aquah, Director-General of Cross River Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), made the disclosure in Calabar.

“This tragic incident happened in Ikom Local Government Area of the state.”

The director general told NAN that property worth millions of naira was destroyed, adding that the occupants were affected economically and socially.

He said 10 Local Governments are prone to flooding with the gradual release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, 10 Local Government areas in Cross River are said to be affected by the discharge of the water.

Aquah listed the Local Government areas as: Odukpani, Abi, Yakurr, Ogoja, Ikom, Etung, Yala, Calabar Municipality and Calabar South.

He said that the agency had begun sensitisation in the perceived affected areas to enlighten them on the way forward.

The director general said the agency has also notified the affected areas on places they can relocate to in case the water level rises above control.

An environmentalist, Prof. Charles Ibiang, said that perennial flooding can be prevented in some parts of the country, if there are standard drainage systems in place.

Ibiang advised that building be constructed according to government laid down specification to avoid construction of buildings along the water ways.

Stakeholders in Eket Local Government Area of in Akwa Ibom appealed to the government to construct drains and dredge rivers in Eket to cushion the effect of flood in the area.

According to them, lack of good drainage system and none dredging of Rivers in Eket and its environs is adversely contributing to the recent flooding in the state.

Chief Enim Ekanem, Village Head of Ekpene Afaha Eket, attributed the persistence flood to over flow of bank river (Eketai River) as it submerges drainage system, houses and other structure.

He said that Afaha Eket community was worst hit during flooding in Eket local Government Area.

The State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo called on Akwa Ibom people to seek advised and approval from town planner before setting up structures to avoid emergency.

Ekpo lamented that people build structures on drainage and water channel which causes flooding in the state.

He appealed to the construction company handling Eket-Oron Road, which some of the flood victims accused of being the cause of their predicament, to remedy the situation and assist the people in whatever way it could. (NAN)

•Photo shows Flood scene


Source: News Express

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