By Lizzy Okoji
Mr Ladein Omiebi, Chairman, Flood Management Committee, Patani Local Government Area, Delta State has called on the Federal Government to carry out a proper dredging of the River Niger to prevent recurring flood disasters.
Omiebi made the call during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Patani, Delta State.
According to him, proper dredging of the Rivers Niger and Benue will increase the capacity of the rivers to accomodate more water hence, reducing the frequency of the river flooding.
He said that members of communities also have critical roles to play by keeping the water channels free of waste and anything that would cause blockage of the water channels.
“I will suggest the Federal Government should dredge the river Niger properly, that would take care of the waters from overflowing because this is just river flood.
“That would be one of the major solutions to this recurring flooding that has caused great disasters and has led to massive displacements and deaths across several states in the country.
“ On our parts, we have our way of assisting the government, we are not keeping to environmental laws and by improper ways of waste disposal, canals are being blocked.
“By the time we abide by environmental laws some of these problems will not arise’’, Omiebi said.
Omiebi also called on those living in flood prone areas to always heed to early warnings of relocating to higher grounds to mitigate their losses and most importantly, avoid any case of death.
He said that following the early warnings from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Local Government Council also engaged in sensitisation and resettled of members of Patani Community to higher grounds.
The Chairman pointed out that although some people heeded to the warning and relocated, others have remained in their homes waiting for the worse to happen.
Omiebi said that the Local Government was still engaging in vigorous enlightenment considering the health hazard and risk those in the communities are exposed to.
He said that there have been reported cases of reptiles in some of the houses and malaria as a result of stagnant waters and broken sewages.
He further explained that some people have remained in their homes for the fear of losing their property to vandals, which was the case after the 2012 flooding.
Mrs Esther Edeghe, a retired Civil servant, also called on the government to do its best in preventing the reoccurrence of the flood.
“Since this is river flooding, it can actually be mitigated if our rivers and oceans were constantly dredged.
“Our rivers are not deep enough that is why when there is continuous rainfall, we suffer from serious flooding, especially we in the riverine communities.
“The situation is critical as many of us lost property in 2012 and now we are losing more property again.
“Even if we relocate to higher grounds, how many of our things can we pack? All we need is a permanent solution’’, Edeghe said.
Edeghe also said that relief items should be extended to them that have remained in the communities explaining that she and her family have not relocated because the camp condition was not any better.
She said that they that have remained in communities are also in need of food and non food items relief.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 10 out of the 20 LGAs in Delta state have been affected by the flood and 42,000 people currently displaced in the state. (NAN)