By Charles Onyekwere, Abakaliki
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has embarked on a week-long massive flood preparedness sensitisation to residents of South-East living in low lands and flood prone areas, Daily Times gathered.
The South-East Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Mr Fred Anusim, told newsmen in Enugu on Thursday, that the exercise was part of the Agency’s proactive measures to send early warning massages to communities on the imminent flooding as predicted.
Anusim noted that the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had predicted torrential rains toward September in communities and council areas in 28 states of the country.
He explained that the exercise was currently being carried in communities and council areas in Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States by NEMA’s teams and stakeholders, adding that they engaged in interpersonal explanation to residents, if needed, for clarity and understanding.
The coordinator said that communities in the three states had been divided into high risk and probable risk areas.
According to him, attention is given to the high risk communities and council areas as the agency and its stakeholders spread the warning message and need for those in flood plain/prone areas to relocate up-land to safer ground.
“In Anambra, the flood high risk council areas due to their closeness to the River Niger included; Ogbaru, Anaocha, Oyi, Anambra East, Anambra West, Onitsha North, Orumba South, Orumba North, Njikoka, Ayamelum, Aguata, Awka South and Dunukofia.
“In the same Amanbra, council areas that may have probable flood are; Idemili North, Idemili South, Onitsha South and Awka North.
“in Ebonyi, flood high risk council areas included; Ezza South, Ezza North, Ikwo, Ohaukwu and Afikpo; while the probable flood risk council areas are; Ishielu, Ohaozara and Abakaliki.
“In Enugu State, flood high risk council areas included; Enugu East, Udi, Nsukka, Enugu North, Enugu South and Oji; while the probably flood risk areas are; Igbo Etiti, Ezeagu, Uzo Uwani, Nkanu East and Aniri.
“Even as we are carrying out sensitisation in major communities in the identified council areas, we are also meeting and urging chairmen of the various council areas to be alert and proactive.
“The states’ government and council chairmen should further help sensitise their various communities for participation and better understanding of the risk implications.
“They are encouraged to open up blocked drainages and provide proper waste management principles/practices.
“People who live in flood prone areas should make alternative arrangement to move to higher/safer grounds
“The states and council areas authorities should identify high ground to accommodate the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).’’ he said.
Anusim noted that the essence of the massive sensitisation was meant to save lives and property.
The coordinator further advised that the people on low land and flood prone areas should relocate and come back after the rains are over to continue with their normal daily activities.
“I will use this opportunity to thank various stakeholders – States Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in the zone; Red Cross, Federal Road Safety Corps, Civil Defense, community leaders etc – for their immense support in this sensitisation,’’ he said.