Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has embarked on early warning sensitization visit to flood prone communities in the state.
The Executive Secretary, SEMA, Mr Paul Odenigbo, at the weekend, urged affected communities to prepare as this year’s flood would be slightly above normal as predicted by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and Nigeria Hydrological Agency (NIHSA).
The sensitization program as organised by SEMA was held in flood prone communities to include Ayamelum, Awka North, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ogbaru and Ihiala Local Government Areas respectively.
Mr Odenigbo said Anambra was one among 14 states to experience flood in 2020 as the predictions were always near accurate and the flood would have impact on farmers and people living across riverine areas.
He noted that the cause of the flooding might not necessarily come from the rains we experience here in Anambra, but from the North or upper part of the globe.
“If you could remember, it was predicted in 2012 that there will be flooding and it happened. We have come to tell you to prepare yourselves so this year’s flooding does not come as a surprise.”
The ES advised farmers to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture and invest on crops whose maturity duration was shorter and could be harvested within a period of three months before the flood comes.
He, then, pleaded with members of communities to desist from building on water ways in order to make way for flood as it could bring down the structure or make it weak which could be dangerous.
“The communities should also sensitise its people against dumping of refuse in drainages as once a drainage is blocked, overflow of water goes into houses, but when the drainage is distilled water goes through proper channels.”
The Executive Director, SEMA, Mr CY Agupugo, urged the communities to be at alert as flood does not give notice before coming and that they should leave their homes to avoid casualties.
“Pick a box, put your medication, other important documents/things and move into the holding camp that the government has established for safety,” he said.
Mr Agupugo who also inaugurated Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) during the exercise, congratulated and urged them to work hard as they will be SEMA eyes in each of your varrious communities.
The Transition Committee Chairman, Awka North LGA, Ferdinand Onwuja, commended State Government and SEMA on the early warning and sensitization visit to communities/poeple on the issue of flooding.
According to him, there was need for people to prepare themselves for the coming flood and he promised to do his best to help in educating them too.
“The newly inaugurated committee will ensure to work hard and in line with SEMA to protect our environment,” he said.
Mr Benjamin Onyebor, TC Chairman, Ayamelum LGA, while expressing gratitude to government, noted that he had to invite both the Igwes, Clergymen and President General in the community to the sensitization programme.
“I believe we all have a duty of taking this sensitization to people in the villages so as for all to be aware of what is coming during this year’s flooding season,” he noted.
Rev. Father Patrick Ejwuatu of Christ the King Parish, Omor, Ayamelum LGA commended SEMA on its job of sensitizing people on impending flood.
He said it was also their responsibility as Clergymen to spread the message in churches while noting that flood was a natural disaster as one can not do anything but to get prepared.
“Though we depend on God, we also have to do some certain things and prepare ourselves in order for the flood not to come to us by sudden,” he added.
Community Woman Leader in Amansea, Awka North LGA, Mr Ifeoma Nwaokeke commended SEMA for carrying the sensitization program early this year as it would enable communities experiencing flooding to get prepared early.