The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said no fewer than 375, 142 persons were affected by flood disaster across ten local government areas of Anambra. Mr Idris Abubarkar, NEMA Incident Commander in Awka, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Saturday.
Abubarkar said out of the number, no fewer than 18, 144 persons were in the category of People in Need, while 973 persons were either injured or sick as a result of the disaster. According him, Ogbaru Council Area has the highest number of affected persons with 131, 175, followed by Anambra West with 100, 775 while Onitsha South has the least of 1, 005 people.
The NEMA official said the agency would distribute relief materials to the affected persons next week with the assistance of Anambra State emergency Management Agency (SEMA). He said in addition to food items, building materials would be given to those whose homes were destroyed by the disaster to enable them to begin life again.
Abubarkar, however, noted that the relief materials to be distributed were not compensation but palliatives aimed at cushioning the impact. He further said that NEMA had not come to take over the duties of the state government in providing for its people but to support it.
He said disaster management was everybody’s business and enjoined everyone to help in the efforts to restore the livelihood of the people. “We in collaboration with SEMA are coordinating an actionable and assessment report that can guide the Federal Government to intervene.
“By next week we will go to these communities and directly handover the relief materials to them. I must say that this is not compensation but a way of helping them to stand on their feet. “We shall give out food items and building materials to people whose homes were destroyed,” he said.
Abubarkar blamed the flood on poor management of the environment and warned people to stop building structures and felling trees on flood plains. He said the high number of dams were impeding the free flow of waters and causing siltation and called for massive dredging and de-silting works on natural water channels.
“People are encouraged to stop construction of structures on flood plains; they are also to respect early warning signals whenever they come and move up to higher lands.
“A major cause of flooding is the siltation resulting from a number of dam and cutting down of trees on flood paths, so we need dredging and de-siltation so that water can remain in its natural course,” he said.