The Anambra State Emergence Management Agency (SEMA) on Tuesday said over 13,000 persons have been displaced by flood in the state.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr Paul Odenigbo disclosed this yesterday in a telephone conversation with our correspondent.
He said the agency has been providing relief materials to the displaced persons in the various holding centres across the state.
According to Odenigbo, residents that are still trapped in the flooded communities were turning down evacuation efforts by the agency to move them to Internally Displaced Camps provided across the state, on flimsy reasons.
He said the attitude is hampering smooth rescue operations around the flooded communities.
“About fourteen to fifteen thousand persons are displaced, and the thing about evacuating people from their ancestral home to holding camps or IDP centres is not as easy as you think.
“Some people will not want to move.
“We started warning as at June-July, and some people came out of the riverine area to higher grounds, but some people said they are not willing to move, that they are used to staying in water no matter how high the water is.
“So those who are still remaining there are small percentage, who are saying if we move, something will happen to us or our farmland,” he disclosed.
The Anambra SEMA boss however, said NEMA and the Disaster Response Unit of the Military have commenced aerial surveillance of the flooded communities in the state.
Also speaking on the development, the state commissioner for environment, Mr. Felix Odimegwu called on the federal government to wade in to help contain the situation, adding that the deaths, destruction of property and means livelihood were no longer tolerable.
He said; “It has been a very unfortunate situation. Every year we keep having this problem of flooding and I think it is high time we have a national dialogue on this perennial flooding that keep ravaging the coastal lines in the country.”
Odimegwu further said, Anambra has been adversely affected by the incessant flooding, and it has affected no fewer than five local government areas; Ayamelum, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ogbaru and Ihiala.
While admitting that the state never envisaged a heavy flood as this, the commissioner dismissed the insinuation in some quarters that the state does not heed the warnings of NIMET to prepared well ahead of the disaster.
“We yielded to the warning of Nimet, we informed the people as at then that something like this would happen, and we went ahead to prepare the IDP camps,” he said.
He added that “though we did not know that the flooding will get to this extent, we started visiting the prone areas before October, but as at 1st of October, those places we visited have been flooded.
“It is not like you can be perfectly prepared, but the state was much prepared, and provision has been made for the people in the camps already.”
One of the residents of Iyiowa Odekpe community in Ogbaru, who identified himself as Chinonso, revealed that day by day, the flood keeps increasing, adding that many people are still in the affected areas.