The Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has warned the riverine communities of the state to heed to early warning ahead of the 2020 impending flooding.
The Executive Secretary of SEMA, Chief Paul Odenigbo, gave the warning when he led officials of the agency on early warning sensitisation to flood-prone communities, following predictions on impending flooding by experts.
The sensitisation programme as organised by SEMA was held in flood-prone communities of Ayamelum, Awka North, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ogbaru and Ihiala Local Government Areas (LGAs) and rounded off in Naku on Friday.
Odenigbo urged the affected communities to prepare as this year’s flooding could be slightly above normal as predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and Nigeria Hydrological Agency (NIHSA).
He said that Anambra would be among 14 states to experience flooding in 2020 as the predictions were always near accurate.
“The upcoming floodwaters would have impact on farmers and people living across riverine areas of the state.
“The cause of the flooding might not necessarily come from heavy rains here in Anambra but from the Northern parts of the country, particularly the upper Niger River.
“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,” he said.
The executive secretary urged farmers to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture to invest in crops, whose maturity duration would be shorter, so that they could harvest within a period of three months before the flooding would arrive.
Odenigbo pleaded with members of communities to desist from building on waterways in order not to distort the channelling of floodwaters.
According to him, flooding could bring down structures or weaken them, rendering them to be far more dangerous.
“The communities should also sanitise people against dumping of refuse in drainages as once a drainage is blocked, over flowing waters can go into houses.
“When drainages are desilted, floodwaters will flow through proper channels,’’ he said.
The Executive Director, SEMA, Mr Cyril Agupugo, urged communities to be at alert as flooding did not give notice before coming.
“Prepare to leave your homes to avoid casualties.
“Pick a box, put your medication, other important documents and move into the holding centres that government will establish for safety,’’ he said.
Agupugo, who also inaugurated Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) during the exercise, enjoined them to work hard as they were their eyes in various communities in case of emergencies at local government levels.
Mr Ferdinand Onwuja, Transition Committee (TC) Chairman, Awka North Local Government Area (LGA), welcomed the early warnings and sensitisation visits to communities in his area.
Mr Benjamin Onyebor, TC Chairman, Ayamelum LGA, while expressing gratitude to government, noted that he had to invite the Igwes, the clergy and President-Generals of communities to the sensitisation programme.
“I believe we all have a duty of taking this enlightenment to the people in villages,’’ Onyebor said.
Rev. Fr. Patrick Ejwuatu of Christ the King Parish, Omor, Ayamelum LGA, said it was also their responsibility as clergymen to spread the message in Churches.
Ejiwatu noted that flooding was a natural disaster as one could not do anything but to get prepared.
“Although we depend on God but we also have to do some certain things to prepare ourselves in order not to come to us as surprise,’’ he said.
Mrs Ifeoma Nwokike, a Community Woman Leader in Amansea, Awka North LGA, thanked the SEMA team, noting that early warning would enable communities to get prepared early enough.(NAN)