Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
A coalition of civil society groups has called on the government to intensify efforts in providing healthcare services and medical personnel in the 11 holding centres for flood-displaced persons in Anambra State.
The groups – Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development (ECID), a Christian Aid (CA) UK Aid funded project for development, Justice Development and Peace Caritas (JDPC), Onitsha; Hope Givers Initiative (HOG-I), and Civil Rights Concern (CRC) – in a joint press briefing at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Secretariat, Onitsha Anambra State also called on the Federal Government to commence the dredging of the River Niger to deepen water depth and minimise overflow.
Programme Manager, ECID/JDPC, Onitsha, Mr Alphonsus Nwoye, who spoke on behalf of the groups regretted that flood has continued to ravage Anambra communities, particularly, the Anambra North senatorial zone communities since 2011 because the federal government failed to take proactive measures to address the problem of flooding in the area
They also identified some groups like people living with disabilities and rural women farmers as one of the most vulnerable groups that bear the burden of flood noting that the health standards in the camps within Ogbaru and Onitsha North local government areas require urgent attention.
They also called for a change of the academic calendar for schools in communities affected by flooding and urged Anambra State government to provide upland storage facilities for the flood-displaced communities who are predominantly farmers.
The groups said the government should summon enough strong political will to implement their respective environmental protection policies to save the people from problems associated with environmental degradation
“Federal Government should expedite action on total dredging of the River Niger and Anambra State government should commence the dredging of surrounding rivers like Anambra and Ezu Rivers in order to deepen water depth and minimise overflowing of river levels during the rainy season”
Other ideas recommended included the early supply of farm inputs to enable farmers to harvest before the flooding period, improved farm seedlings that can withstand flooding period through collaboration with Agricultural Research Institutes and universities.