Posted by News Express | 15 August 2017 | 1,473 times
Heavy flooding has severely ravaged at least 46 communities in Abia, killing two children, an official of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said.
Mr Sunny Jackson, the Head, Planning, Forecasting and Operations of the agency, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia on Monday.
Jackson said that the children drowned when flood submerged their home in Akoli Ohazu Autonomous Community in Aba South Local Government Area (LGA) sometime in July.
He said that SEMA gathered that the mother of the deceased was busy trying to salvage her property when the flood surged into her house and drowned the children.
Jackson further said that the 46 affected communities cut across 13 local government areas of the state and that Aba South Local Government area topped the list with 11 communities.
He said that Aba North came second, followed by Obingwa, Osisioma and Ugwunagbo council areas.
“Some residents of the affected communities can no longer access their homes because their houses had been completely submerged.
“Some of the communities have been cut off from their neighbours because flood has washed off their roads.”
He said that the situation in Abia confirmed the predictions by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency about flooding this year.
According to him, Abia is one of the states that received alert about the impending flooding in the country this year.
“This is why I consider it a pure fallacy for anyone to say that there is no flooding in Abia.”
Jackson expressed delight that succour would soon come to the affected communities.
He said that Abia was among the 16 states slated to benefit from the N1.6 billion Federal Government Flood Intervention Fund.
The SEMA official said that the agency was committed to disaster-risk management in the state but expressed regret that the agency’s operations were adversely affected by shortage of personnel and logistics.
According to him, the agency is in dire need of equipment such as Geographical Positioning System, digital cameras, trucks and ambulances for efficient service delivery.
Jackson described flooding as a natural disaster but noted that it could be escalated or checked through human actions or inactions.
“Building on flood plains and waterways, deforestation, over-grazing, improper channelling of water, blocking of drains and flood channels are capable of triggering the disaster.”
In a related development, two communities in Kogi, Okudigbo and Odochala in Ibaji Local Government, have been submerged by flood which also destroyed property.
The increasing menace of flood has forced the Kogi Government to declare a state of emergency on environment and decided to give priority to environmental issues.
The state Deputy Governor, Mr Simon Achuba, unveiled the plan when he received a officials of Ecological Fund Office in the office of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The officials arrived in Lokoja for the assessment of the flood and erosion sites in Kogi.
He said the government has also set aside the last Saturday of every month as environmental sanitation day to mobilise the citizens to clean their surroundings.
“We are also very lucky to have someone in charge of the ministry of environment who is very effective and proactive in carrying out her duties.
“We are very grateful to the Federal Government for taking up these issues and for giving us the needed support which the state deserves,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Abdullazeez Umar, who spoke on behalf of the team, said that the exercise was approved by the Federal Executive Council, as part of efforts to tackle the ecological problems facing the country via the effective management, co-ordination, monitoring and implementation of programmes.
The Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, said that the ministry had earlier presented the ecological reports on 19 local government areas in the state to the team.
She said the ministry had met with the team and catalogued 194 flood and erosion sites in the 19 local government areas with the help of some experts, which represented 50 per cent of the total areas that were supposed to be covered.
She noted the state government last week organised a workshop on climate change and afforestation, which was attended by many stakeholders.
Besides, Osikoya said that the government had reopened the state’s forest reserves, and launched tree planting for the 2017 afforestation campaign.
She complained that aside the increase in traffic due to proximity of Kogi to Abuja, a river in Orokere-Amuro, has also changed its natural course, using the federal road as its flowing path and flooding some communities along its new route.
“We are very excited that the state governor is paying adequate attention to those special environmental issues, which have drawn the attention of the Ecological Fund Office,’’ she said. (NAN)
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