By; PAMELA EBOH Awka
The Chairman of Ogbaru Local Government Area council, Anambra State, Arinzechukwu Awaogu has called for Federal Government’s assistance in the areas of donation of food items, non-food items, medical supplies, establishment of sick bays for people displaced by flood in the area.
He also solicited for medical personnel to help in handling the situation.
The chairman who lamented the level of devastation while addressing journalists in Awka said that over 5,000 families have been displaced by flood in the area.
According to him, churches, schools and many residential houses have also been submerged, with farm crops destroyed and displaced persons seeking refuge in Onitsha and surrounding communities.
Awaogu said, “Our fear now is that of a possible outbreak of epidemic.
“At the moment, we are housing over 1,000 IDPs; we have over 5,000 persons who have been displaced; some are taking refuge in the residences of their relatives, who live upland, including Onitsha.
“About 1,000 of the displaced persons were being catered for at Internally Displaced Persons’ camps in the area, while many others trapped in their communities needed evacuation.”
The chairman regretted that the displaced persons were experiencing shortage of food and other basic items such as matrasses, pillows, mats, blankets, buckets, slippers and rain boots, among others.
On his part, the Anglican Bishop of Ogbaru Diocese, Rev Prosper Amah, blamed the situation on the failure to dredge the River Niger.
He enjoined Federal Government to commence the dredging of the river so as to save the lives of the people of the area
Amah said, “The dredging of the River Niger would not only save the 400,000 persons in the area and the entire Anambra North Senatorial District that had been submerged in water.
“This call has become imperative following the ravaging flood that has displaced thousands of people in the Ogbaru Local Government Area and beyond.”
He regretted that Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children are the worst hit, saying that women in labour, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children are trapped in many communities, while many families in Ogwuikpele, Akili Ozuzu and Obeagwu are in very critical situations and requiring immediate evaluation.
“After the 2012 flooding that ravaged the whole of the Anambra North Senatorial District and the Ogbaru Local Government Area in particular, I had expected the Federal Government to take proactive steps towards solving flooding problem, but nothing was done and as a result, many families have been rendered homeless.
“My heart bleeds when I see my people trapped, displaced and suffering as a result of flood; the most heart-breaking situation is seeing women in labour, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children trapped without any help in sight.
“I have said it before and I am saying it again, if we have a government that is proactive, this perennial problem of flooding that displaces thousands of families every year would have been solved.
It’s not enough sending relief materials that are not enough for 10 families and taking our people to Internally Displaced Persons’ camps, where they are abandoned.
“What we see here as flood is the spill over from the River Niger. Other countries are dredging their big rivers, what is preventing the Nigerian government from doing the same?”, he added.