FEDERAL Government has said that it would sustain intervention measures in evacuating people likely to be affected by flooding in coastal areas across the country.
Acting Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Akugbe Iyamu, said this during an assessment tour of coastal areas in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Iyamu noted that NEMA had been monitoring flooding as predicted by the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA), that many states, including Anambra would be affected.
“This is the reason why, when Anambra called for assistance overt the incident in Ogbaru LGA; we just have to come to obtain first hand information.
“The aim of this visit is to access the level of flooding in the area and then go back to give the report.”
He described as faulty, beliefs of not evacuating their ancestral homes in the event of emergency as some insist on staying to die there rather than relocate to safety.
According to him, one must first of all save his life before defending his ancestral home.
“If all collaborating agencies are able to do their jobs, we will be able to minimise the consequences of flood disasters to the barest minimum.
“The issue of dredging rivers is a policy matter to be taken to appropriate authorities. What we are saying now is how to aid displaced persons as we already have a situation at hand.
Acting DG, NEMA expressed gratitude to Air Force for releasing their helicopters for such emergencies, the army for their customised equipment and the navy for their boats.
All these, he said, would aid massive evacuation of displaced persons in affected areas.
Chairman, Red Cross Society, Anambra State, Prof. Peter Emeka Katchy, noted that NEMA had always been helpful to the state for so many years now.
“We have cordial working relationship in case of incidences of fire, building collapse and flood menace,” he said.
Chairman, Ogbaru LGA, Mr Arinze Awogu said that government had earlier moved round the entire coastal towns and communities in the state.
“Ogbaru is such a LGA that is ravaged completely whenever flooding occurs. We have 16 communities and none is left out as they were within the water level.
“We are always mindful of our situation and each time we see government presence, we are hopeful that they will assist us with palliatives,” he added.
Zonal Coordinator, NEMA, South East Zone, Mr Fred Anusim and sector commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Anambra State, Mr Andrew Kumapayi were part of the delegation.
Executive Secretary, Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Chief Paul Odenigbo was represented by Executive Assistant to the governor on SEMA, Mr Emeka Obinwa.
The event featured presentation of award of ‘Commander of Humanity’ by the Red Cross, Anambra, to Director-General of NEMA, Mr Mustapha Maihaji.