From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Government of Rivers State has advised local government chairmen and respective Ministries/Departments/Agencies (MDAs) to prepare for floods in prone communities across the state.
The government advisory comes amid warnings by the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) of adverse weather across the country Rivers State in particular.
Secretary to the State Government Tammy Danagogo, at a closed-door meeting with the affected council chairmen, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) officials and the relevant MDAs in Port Harcourt, stressed that the parley was necessary in order to prepare for emergencies that might arise as a result of flood situations in the state, particularly considering the precarious position of Rivers in the predictions of NiMET and its geological position at the bank of the Atlantic Ocean.
Danagogo, who represented Governor Nyesom Wike, informed the council chairmen that, as chief security officers of their localities, they must be proactive in facing and overcoming the challenges of their residents in the time of the flood.
He noted that NEMA, which has catalogued the diverse challenges of emergency management during floods, needs the collaboration of the councils who know their communities better.
‘His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike, has directed me to interface with NEMA, council chairmen, and relevant ministries to guarantee that all parties know their roles in order to avert the expected flood that may result in the displacement of our people,’ Danagogo said.
‘I believe that by the time you synergise your experiences with the expertise from NEMA, we should be able to work and provide solutions against flood disaster in our state.
‘I further urge residents of our dear state to imbibe good sanitary habits. Do not dump refuse in the gutters or build on water channels. Such crude habits will only compound flood situations across the state.’
The SSG earlier commiserated with the local government chairmen over the sudden demise of one of them, David Irimagha, chairman of Bonny Local Government Area.
NEMA South-South Zonal Coordinator Mr Godwin Tepikor noted that it was important the state prepare for the looming flood that would affect the local governments adversely.
He noted that by the second week of November, the rains would be adverse and urged all persons in flood-prone communities to be prepared and move out to designated camps if need be.
Also speaking, Rivers Commissioner for Special Duties Emeka Onowu, acknowledged that Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps were being prepared for predicted areas that might be affected in the 2021 scientific weather report.
The affected Local Government Areas include Port Harcourt, Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Asari Toru, Akuku Toru, Etche, Eleme, Abua/Odual, Andoni, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Obio/Akpor, Khana, Oyigbo, Okrika, Tai, and Ogu/Bolo.