By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu, Sept. 23, 2020 Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State says the state has set up an emergency response plan to mitigate any incident of flooding.
Ugwuanyi made this known in Enugu on Wednesday while receiving a delegation of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) who were in the state on flood advocacy visit.
The NEMA delegation also paid a similar advocacy visit to the 103 Battalion Akwunanaw in Enugu, which had been designated the Disaster Response Unit (DRU) of the state.
Ugwuanyi was represented by the Executive Secretary of Enugu State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mrs Nkechi Eneh.
He said the state had received tremendous human and material support from NEMA in the areas of capacity building, training and relief materials.
The governor said that the state recorded cases of flooding yearly with huge negative impacts.
Ugwuanyi said that the state was also aware of the 2020 flooding as predicted by the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMeT).
“As part of the ongoing implementation of the state’s emergency response plan to mitigate flooding and its devastating impact; we have engaged council chairmen and various chairmen of the Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) to embark on the following:
“Organize flood sensitization campaign in communities most likely to be impacted and we have engaged in massive desilting of drainages to allow free flow of water.
“Put in place mechanism and sensitization to discourage dumping of refuse inside water channels and removal of water hyacinths or weeds from water channels to allow free flow of water,’’ he said.
Ugwuanyi also noted that the state Ministry of Health was already working on mechanisms to prevent public health hazards from flooding by providing emergency drugs for women and children affected by flooding.
“These include mass immunization of children in the 10 council areas predicted to be impacted by NIHSA through Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA).
”Another is the acquisition of mobile toilets through the state Ministry of Environment,’’ he said.
The governor thanked NEMA for the advocacy visit and engagement, and urged the agency to do more for the state.
He said more should be done especially as it concerned relief for the 2018 Uzo-Uwani council area flooding, which affected 3,500 hectares of farmlands with 2,500 persons displaced.
Also speaking, Lt.-Col. Yusuf Salisu, Commanding Officer of 103 Battalion, Akwunanaw, assured NEMA that officers and men of the command were ready to attend to any emergency when called upon.
Earlier, the Director-General (DG)of NEMA, AVM Muhammadu Muhammed (Rtd), called on the state to activate all contingency and emergency flood plans especially sensitization and preparation of all stakeholders.
Muhammed was represented by Mr James Eze, NEMA Team Leader of the advocacy visit.
He urged the state government to take proactive flood mitigation plans like opening of drains and waterways and massive flood sensitization campaigns in communities.
The NEMA DG also urged the government to identify high grounds and appeal to its residents in lowland and flood plains to relocate to such places as well as open effective communication between it and NEMA.
“There is a need to stock SEMA warehouses to enable swift reaction to supply food and non-food items to Internally Displaced Persons prior to NEMA and other stakeholders’ intervention,’’ he said.
NAN reports that in Enugu State, council areas prone to high risk of flooding include Enugu East, Udi, Nsukka, Enugu North, Enugu South and Oji-River.
Council areas that have low flooding risk are Igbo-Etiti. Ezeagu, Uzo-Uwani and Nkanu East.