Tony Osauzo, Benin
Surging flood from the River Niger has hit seven communities in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State, submerging hundreds of houses and farmlands.
The affected communities are Udaba, Ofukpo, Agbaburu, Osomegbe, ukpeko, Ugochi and Anegbette.
This was coming barely one week after flood displaced over 2,000 people in six communities of Etsako East Local Government Area of the state.
The flood was said to have destroyed property and crops worth several millions of naira, forcing farmers to resort to harvesting their crops such as cassava, Yam, rice, maize, and groundnuts prematurely.
“If we don’t harvest our crops now as you can see, they will get spoiled and we will suffer so we have decided to harvest our six-months-old cassava, you know we don’t have any farm that is up to a year now because that of last year also destroyed our farms”, a farmer, Mr. Nigeria Afomede, said.
Commenting on the disaster, Village Head of Udaba, Chief David Inetape, said over the years, governments had not been favourable to them and wondered why the people of the area should be left unanswered at time like this.
Citing lack of motorable roads as a reason why they cannot relocate out of the place, Inetape said the earth roads in the communities are often flooded, adding that they now use ferry boats and canoes to access their houses.
Also commenting, Mrs. Rose Akinabor, a farmer, said the flood has destroyed her life savings, explaining that she took loan to farm this season unaware that her labour was going to be in vain.
She, therefore, called on the state government to assist them so they could live normal life again.
The residents gave reason why they refused to relocate to the Federal Government resettlement camp built by the flood committee in the last administration, saying that they have no access road to Oghomere where the camp is located and that there was no sign before the sudden rise in water level.
Notwithstanding, the Etsako Central Local Government Council, has cleaned up the Federal Government resettlement camp with the aim of relocating the flood victims there.
Vice chairman of the local government, Mr. Ambrose Kelvin Akhigbe, said the council was doing all it could to relocate the victims after the proper cleaning of the building and fumigation is completed on Wednesday.
“We are going to the affected communities with speed boats to evacuate them. If anyone resist leaving the areas, we are going to persuade them to leave so that whatever the government and individuals will be bringing, they will benefit from it in the camp.
“As you can see, the borehole is set and the rooms are been tidied up to ensure that they are conducive.
“We shall also bring a very big generating set to ensure regular supply of light in the camp so that the displaced persons can feel at home”, he said.