From DOM EKPUNOBI, Onitsha
To say the least, the devastation is so much. Most residents of various communities in Ogbaru, Anambra East and West Local Government Areas of Anambra State have remained homeless and in anguish. Those who still manage to stay in their houses keep awake all nights, waiting for the next havoc the flood will wreak.
Whether they are homes or with homes, sorrow, agony and pain are their lot. The situation is so bad that there is hardly any difference between the villages’ main rivers and flooded areas. The communities are submerged and the flood daily claims more land. As the flood surges daily, it goes on its trail with devastation to houses, farmland, and roads.
In fact, educational and economic activities of the communities have been grounded. In the communities making up the three local government areas, hunger and starvation have set in, as farmlands have either been washed away or taken over by flood. And with the road covered by flood, food items cannot be brought into the villages.
Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, had visited the Ogbaru Local Government Area, which has 15 autonomous communities as well as Okpoko. What he saw overwhelmed him. The communities are figuratively under water. Of all the communities in Ogbaru Local Government Area, Okpoko is the only place where residents still sleep with a measure of comfort and confidence.
The flood is yet to wreak devastating havoc. In Odekpe, Atani, Ogwu-Ikpele, Ochuche, Osamala, Akili-Ozizor, Akili- Ogidi Obeagwe and Ogwu-Aniocha, the story is that of agony and sorrow. In these communities, the story is no longer that flood has submerged houses. Now, the news is that the houses so submerged are caving in. When Saturday Sun visited Ogbaru Local Government Area, Hon. Victor Ogene, a member of House of Representatives representing Ogabaru Federal Constituency, was involved in the rescue mission.
He lamented the devastation of the flood. He revealed that he had contacted the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant agencies to come to the aid of the flood victims and the communities. Also, a former member of House of Representatives from the area, Hon. Okwudili Uzoka, expressed dismay over havoc wreaked by the flood. He advised the people whose houses were overtaken by the flood, not to rush back, even when the flood recedes, pointing out such affected buildings stand the risk of collapsing without proper repairs and reinforcement.
The situation in Anambra East and West Local Government areas is even worse. In communities in these council areas, there’s hardly any dry land, as flood has overrun the place. The worst hit in Anambra West is Mmiata Anam, where the flood level is above bungalows. In the community, canoe has become the only sources of moving around. Also, seriously affected are Umunze Anam, Umuoba Asegbu and Iyiora.
The former transition committee Chairman of Anambra West Local Government, Dr. Tony Obierike, told Saturday Sun that this year’s flood disaster was the worst ever witnessed. He said that apart from being chased out of their houses by the flood, affected people stand the high risk of epidemic. According to him, Anambra River was the only drinking water to most of the people.
Now that everywhere is flooded, the river may have been contaminated. He appealed to the state and federal governments to save the community from extinction. He also called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to hasten action in providing food and drinking water to save the people from starvation and epidemic. President General of Ogonikpele Community, Mr. Frank Akaka, who commended Hon. Ogene for rushing back to the constituency on hearing about the flooding, said the people have lost everything they ever owned.
President General of Mmiata Anam, Chief Emmanuel Agbata, expressed shock at the devastation caused by the flood and appealed for assistance from all and sundry. Also commenting on the flood disaster, the member representing the Anambra East, Hon. Obinna Emeneka, described the flood hazard as unprecedented. He said that all communities in the constituency were affected. According to him, the flood was beyond the Anambra State government to handle, while calling on the Federal Government to declare the area a disaster area.