Former Secretary to the Anambra State Government and Executive Secretary of the Anambra State Emergency Management Agency ( SEMA ) Chief Paul Odenigbo has said that the state government is fully prepared to mitigate the devastating effects of flooding this year.
Odenigbo said six local government areas have been identified as flashpoints and that inhabitants of those areas have been sensitized adequately and advised to seek refuge in the uplands to avoid the tragedy of 2012 flood.
Speaking on the preparedness of the state government to respond rapidly to this year’s deluge, the state SEMA boss explained that governnent was not leaving any loophole in its rescue and resettlement operations.
The former SSG told our correspondent at SEMA headquarters Awka that after the release of NIMET predictions, SEMA embarked on massive sensitization of the citizenry, telling them that there would be heavy flooding this year.
He said, ” We have done the first and second round of sensitization. Maybe by next month we will do the final round because from what we hear, the flood will be here from September up to November as the case maybe.”
” We have told those in flood prone areas that there would be flood this year therefore they should get ready to relocate as water starts rising. In addition to that, we have started getting ready our emergency holding centres located in various areas in Anambra state.”
” We have fumigated them. Cleaned them up and getting them ready for occupation in the event that people have to relocate. The third phase of our preparation now is the training of emergency workers; the first responders that would raise the alarm of flooding. The Civil Defense, Nigeria Red Cross, Community Based Organizations and some others are involved in the training.” The SEMA boss stated.
He also stated that adequate security apparatus would be provided for settlers at the holding centres across the state, pointing out that the state has never had issues of sexual harassments, stealing of relief materials as well as other inhumane and inhuman activities going on at the internally displaced persons camps.
Odenigbo was of the opinion that the state government ensured that persons displaced by flood were adequately catered for and secured at the holding centres, stressing that governnent has very watertight security arrangements for those seeking temporary abode at the holding centres.
According to him, ” The flood prone areas of Anambra state are Ogbaru, Ayamelum, Anambra-East, Anambra-West, Awka-North and Ihiala. These are high risk areas when you talk about river flooding threatening people living around that area.”
He however advised citizens not to obstruct waterways by dumping refuse in the drainages, erecting structures on water channels as well as contractors not blocking waterways during their construction works; as he observed that those were some of the remote causes for urban flooding.