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Of Flood Ravaged Communities And Need To Act Fast

It is exactly seven years since the disastrous floods of 2012, termed as the worst in 40 years. The flood which began in early July of 2012 killed 363 people and displaced over 2.1 million people as of November 5, 2012.

It is exactly seven years since the disastrous floods of 2012, termed as the worst in 40 years. The flood which began in early July of 2012 killed 363 people and displaced over 2.1 million people as of November 5, 2012.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 30 of Nigeria's 36 states were affected by the flood, which also affected an estimated total of seven million people.  The estimated damages and losses caused by the floods were worth N2.6 trillion.

Sadly, Rivers State was among the states worst hit in that disaster with almost 80 percent of residents in the coastal communities of Orashi Region forced into IDP camps. Normally by October, the rains are expected to become scanty with the rainy season winding down, and giving way for the dry seasons.

But, Mother Nature has to take its course as the rains are once again pouring in torrents with several parts of the country including Rivers State already faced with severe flooding

It's not as if government has not done anything.  Government agencies like the Nigeria Metrological Agency (NiMet), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) have separately warned of imminent flooding because of rains but little or nothing has been done to avert the consequences of flood to the affected communities.

Governments' responses have regrettably, been nothing but mere rhetoric with the attendant consequences on the poor masses in these communities displaced and in dare need of shelter, food and water.

Reports from Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni and Abua Odual Local Government Areas of the State to mention but few, have been sad tales of woe with communities sacked and residents sent packing.

The latest statement by NIHSA on Monday, November 4, 2019 warned residents of seven states including Rivers to prepare for more flooding in the coming days because of the release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.

Director-General of the Agency, Engr. Clement Onyeaso Eze said states like Bayelsa and Rivers will not only be affected by the release of water from the Lagdo Dam but also coastal flooding.

In his words: “The Agency wishes to advise the following states downstream Kogi State namely Edo, Delta, Anambra, Rivers and Bayelsa States to be on the watch out.  They are placed on red alert because the flood that was sighted in faraway Adamawa State will still find its way down to these states before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean”.

This is a clarion call on the Rivers State Government to do the needful by establishing centers for thousands of the already displaced people of the coast communities.  NEMA, NIHSA and other agencies of government should be proactive and go beyond the usual rhetoric.

On Tuesday, November 5, 2019, residents of Idu-Ogba Community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area went into prayer and fasting for divine intervention as the rampaging flood have taken over their homes and farmlands.

Paramount ruler of the community, Eze (Amb) Uche Umejuru noted that while the divine intervention is sought from the Almighty, the Rivers State Government should rise to the occasion and come to their aid to save Idu Community from being swallowed up.

National Network checks revealed that if nothing urgent is done by the relevant agencies of the Federal Government and the Rivers State Government, three communities in Ahoada East Local Government Area namely: Ikata, Ozochi and Ochigba could be submerged as a result of the ravaging flood in the area.  A stitch in time, they say, saves nine!