– Identifies Zik, Ekwueme, Obiano’s LGs as high risk areas

Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka

The Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency has said 14 local governments in Anambra State were at high risk of heavy flooding this year.

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They include Onitsha North, where the home of the pioneer President of Nigeria, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe is located; Orumba North, home of a former vice president, the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme; Anambra East, home of Governor, Chief Willie Obiano; Anaocha, home of former governor Peter Obi and Aguata, home of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.

Others among the 14 local governments are Idemili North, Ogbaru, Anambra West, Njikoka, Ayamelum, Dunukofia and Onitsha South.

The acting Director General, Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Olayinka Ogunwale disclosed this in Awka, while presenting a paper on the 2018 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), at the sensitisation workshop.

Ogunwale, who was represented by the Director in charge of Engineering Hydrology in the agency, Mr. Clement Nze, called on the state government and NEMA to intensify efforts to mitigate flood outbreak.

At the workshop which participants were drawn from Ministry of Water Resources, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and people from erosion prone areas in the state, Ogunwale said flood disaster was inevitable in the country, hence, the need for early preparation to reduce its impact.

The director listed overflowing of rivers, high intensity of rainfall, improper urban planning and flood plains, as well as indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the waterways as some major factors that contribute to recurrent flood disaster in the state. He called for attitudinal change of residents towards the environment.

The Commissioner for Public Utilities, Mr. Obi Nwankwo, in a keynote address, urged people of the state to avoid practices that would encourage flood outbreak.

Represented by the state Director, Water Supply, Emmanuel Igwebuike, the commissioner said: “The state government, as part of efforts towards preventing the recurrence of flood as witnessed in the state last year, has, through the Ministry of Environment, Beautification and Ecology embarked on massive de-silting of drainages as well as partnering the World Bank in recovering of lands from erosion.”

A resource person, Dr. Joseph Amah, in his paper: “Urban and Coastal Flooding in Anambra State: The Trifecta Effects of Watershed, Geology and Urbanization,” emphasised the need for people to shun deforestation as it contributes to erosion outbreak. The Special Assistant to the governor on Utilities and Water Resources, Titus Aguike, in his remarks, commended NHSA for the event and called for replication of such at the grassroots to help the general public on flood mitigation measures.

Participants at the workshop were enlightened on how best to predict, prevent and control flood disaster.