BY SUNNY A. DAVID
About 50 communities in the seven l6ocal Government Areas of Anambra State are under panic following the likelihood of being submerged by flood disaster.
The National Emergency
Management Agency NEMA had in a release listed the 19 States warning that adequate preparations should be made in good time to avert the level of devastation that occured during the last year’s flood disaster across the country.
It is also being feared that over 250 fish farms would be affected by the coming flood across the coastal regions of the State which according to the farmers would be a monumental lose to the farmers and to State.
Already Anambra State Deputy Governor and Chairman Food Mitigation Committee Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim has set up a committee at the State level and sub committees at the Local Government level charged with the responsibility of taking proactive measures in averting deaths and casualties as the flood comes.
Laying credence to the panic farmers in the seven Local Government Areas have commenced the harvesting of their crops even though most crops are not due for harvesting.
Mr. Clement Chukwudi Igwilo a fish and pig farmer at Omor in Ayamelum Local Government Area confirmed that the flood has started coming adding that he has evacuated his farm to another location.
“It has come to Ifite Ogwari, Omor, Umuerum Aguleri in Anambra East heading to Oba Ofemili in Awka North Local Government Area and places that were dry lands have been taken over by the coming flood.
“We have over 350 large fish farms in the water ways and once the flood comes it would sweep away everything and we are left with nothing.
“It is sad that we are harvesting so early but we have no choice but to save the much we can and those that are worse affected are the farmers that planted yams and cassava because they are harvesting too early.”
Madam Monica Nwoye a farmer at Inoma in Anambra West Local Government Area said that it is not enough for NEMA to raise alarm but to come on time to assist the farmers.
“The government people every year would shout and tell us that flood is coming but it ends there but they have nothing again to do for us to save our farms and after the flood government would forget us and wait for another year.”
Meanwhile the Anambra State government has made public measures to be taken by those residing along the water ways ahead of the flood
According to the Press Secretary to Governor Charles Soludo, Mr Christian Aburime the State Emergency Management Agency has sent early warnings to all the people living in riverside and flood-prone areas to immediately relocate to the Internally Displaced Peoples camps provided by the Governor.
The statement read, “As the annual release of excess water from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam is upon us, there is a looming threat of severe flooding that could endanger lives, homes, and livelihoods in vulnerable areas in Nigeria.
“According to the National Emergency Management Agency, the Cameroon authorities have lately issued their annual dam water release alert, and no fewer than 11 States, including Anambra, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross River are likely to feel the negative impacts of the opening of the dam.
“The Lagdo Dam, located in Cameroon, annually releases excess water to manage its reservoir levels during the rainy season as we are in now.
“This discharge often leads to an increase in the water levels of the Benue River and its tributaries, which could subsequently lead to devastating floods in adjacent downstream areas, including Anambra State.
“Last year’s catastrophic incident served as a painful reminder of the destructive power of these floods, as many communities in our State experienced unprecedented destruction and losses.
“In order to avert a recurrence of last year’s disaster and in preparation for this year’s flood event, the government has taken proactive measures to mitigate the impact of potential flooding.”
According to Mr. Aburime, a special flood committee led by the Deputy Governor, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, has set in motion the contingency plans and risk management mechanisms.
“Residents in usually affected Local Government Areas such as Ogbaru, Ayamelum, Anambra East and West, Onitsha North and South, Awka North, Idemili South, Ekwusigo and Ihiala, have been duly advised to relocate without further delay.
“Our elderly citizens, women and children are to be specially helped to move to the safer IDP camps, along with their properly secured assets, household items, farm produce, livestock and so on.
“Also, the sensitisation and creation of awareness are in full swing as the Transition Council Chairmen in affected LGAs have been mandated to link up with all the churches, markets and other high concentration points within the flood-prone areas to dispense the right information.
“It is very imperative for those living in flood-prone areas to follow evacuation orders without delay. And should there be a need for emergency services when the flood arrives, the State’s emergency response teams are on high alert and are equipped to provide immediate assistance in case of flooding.
“As responsible and vigilant citizens, our cooperation is most crucial at this time in averting a disaster.
“Families are to be supportive of one another, while Communities and neighbours should work together to offer assistance to those in need of evacuating or preparing for the flood.
“Anambra can rest assured that the Anambra State Government under Governor Chukwuma Soludo remains committed to their safety and well-being at all times,” the statement stated.