By Ononye VC
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.
It is crucial to be aware, be informed, and be prepared in the face of this potential disaster.
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.
Naturally, the safety of Ndi Anambra under the able leadership of Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo CFR, is of paramount importance at all times.
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.
To this end, a special flood committee led by the Deputy Governor, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim has since set in motion the contingency plans and risk management mechanisms.
Already, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has sent early warnings to all the people living in riverside and flood-prone areas to immediately relocate to the safe Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps provided by Governor Charles Soludo.
Specifically, Ndi Anambra residing in usually affected local government areas such as Ogbaru, Ayamelum, Anambra East and West, Onitsha North and South, Awka North, Idemmili 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 sensitization 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.
And the state Ministry of Information is also broadcasting the impending flood alert on appropriate media channels.
Meanwhile, as the evacuation of affected residents takes off, flood plains are seriously being watched to monitor the levels of water rise and also to sound the alarm once the rise becomes critical.
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.
The response teams will promptly handle various situations and provide support to affected individuals and communities.
As responsible and vigilant citizens, our cooperation is most crucial at this time in averting a disaster.
Ndi Anambra are advised to keep calm and stay updated with accurate information from official sources to avoid misinformation and confusion.
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.
In all, let us all remember the lessons learned from the devastating floods of last year and take proactive measures now to ensure the safety of ourselves, our families, our livelihoods, our property, and our communities.
By staying informed, cooperating with government efforts, and acting responsibly, we can collectively overcome this challenge and minimize the impact of the impending flood.
And Ndi Anambra can be rest assured that the Anambra State Government under Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo remains committed to their safety and well-being at all times!