By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
As flood continues to wreak havoc on riverside communities in Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has expressed his government’s determination to ensure the safety of the people, saying residents of impacted areas would be moved forcibly from their houses if necessary.
“The government will do everything within its power to minimise the effects of the flooding from the rising water in River Niger by moving victims to safe higher ground and providing relief materials with medical supplies,” he said.
Speaking Thursday after inspecting flood-ravaged parts of Oshimili South Local Government Area, including Asaba, the governor directed the Delta State Flood Management Committee to immediately move into impacted communities and evacuate residents who are yet to relocate to camps established across the state for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The governor had visited Oko community, Powerline and Infant Jesus area of Oshimili South as well as one of the seven IDP camps set up by the state government in Asaba metrpolis.
Speaking at the palace of Okaku of Oko Amakom, HRM Nwanodi Nwanmou, Okowa said: ”This is an emergency situation. Move the buses to the communities, use speed boats where necessary and comb all the impacted communities, bring out any of our persons remaining in those communities to the IDP camps.
“From what we have heard, the flood water is rising, you can see that apart from Oko Amakom, the other communities have been submerged; it is an unfortunate situation. Thank God we embarked on early awareness campaign and our people listened.”
The governor commended the people of the community for agreeing to move to the IDP camps, observing that though, the people have lost their agricultural produce as a result of the flood, his administration would work to ameliorate their sufferings, saying: “With the situation of things, it is very important that we save lives. We have deployed man and resources to other impacted communities and those communities that were affected by the flood of 2012 but are yet to be affected by this flood. We have to be proactive in this emergency situation.”
Mr Emma Egonu, who spoke on behalf of the Okaku, commended the proactive
measures taken by Governor Okowa’s administration to check the effects of the flood on the people, assuring him that the people would cooperate with government officials for their safety.
The governor also visited a makeshift IDP camp provided by residents of Powerline located at an area sand filled as part of the construction of the second Niger Bridge, which has been submerged by the flood.
He commended their ingenuity, assuring them that security, medical facilities, food and other items enjoyed in the government-established IDP camps would be deployed in the camp.
He disclosed that security of lives and property was topmost in his administration’s agenda as it tackles the menace of flooding, assuring the people that the makeshift IDP camp established by the residents of Powerline community would be monitored and the people would be evacuated once there was sign of threat by the flood at the camp.
Okowa, who was accompanied on the inspection by members of the state’s security council, was conducted round the communities by the Commissioner for Bureau for Special Duties, Mr. Ernest Ogwezzy.