Thousands of natives and residents of many communities in Ogbaru Council Area of Anambra State are now putting up at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps at the Council headquarters, Atani and other uplands in neighbouring communities.
This is as a result of the massive flooding that has affected over 7 communities in the council area, submerging hundreds of homes.
The affected communities in the Local Government Area of the state visited by Wazobia FM include Akili, Ohita, Odekpe, Ossomala, Umunankwo, Umuzu, parts of Atani and Okpoko.
Ogbaru is one of the Anambra LGAs that situate along the coastal lines of the River Niger and has since 2012, suffered the challenge of flood annually.
When TNC reporter visited the area today, it was also observed that some natives who live in upstairs, were still accessing their homes with the help of canoes and evacuating their items.
Thousands of homeless children were also seen unduly exposed to unfriendly weather as their families now live on roadside, sleep and cook on the roadsides.
A displaced person, who is the Olowu of Atani, Augustine Nyanne, who spoke with TNC correspondent, lamented the inability of people of the area to move out of their homes which was heavily flooded.
According to him, some of the affected victims have stayed back to brave the odds and watch over their valuables.
“This has become a yearly occurrence since the 2012 flooding. We hear a lot of stories as to why it is happening and we don’t know what to do. This is affecting the development of land as no meaningful investor would want to bring their investments here due to the challenge of flood. Banks, industries and other businesses have all closed shop due to this annual flooding because whenever it happens, everything is submerged. Our children are no longer going to school. We sincerely need help in this place,” he lamented.
A farmer, Emmanuel Emezina who was seen paddling out what remains of his early harvest, said the annual flooding has so negatively affected agricultural activities in the agrarian local government.
“Here we are largely farmers who depend on the harvest of our farm produce as a means of livelihood. Most of us take loans to finance our farming activities especially with the call by government for improved agricultural activities in our area. What we usually do when this kind of incidents happen is to harvest early and this usually cause huge loss for us. That is why we call on the government to address the situation by dredging the River Niger to allow for a free flow of water,” he said.
An aged woman, Theresa Obieze who also narrated the ugly situation of her community, accused the state government of being insensitive to their plight.
“Whenever this happens, we hear a lot of stories from the government about how they are planning for our welfare. But the reality on the ground is that the government does not care. You can see where we are staying, no basic amenities even when we have heard the bogus amounts they budget for our welfare. Let them know that anybody that takes advantage of our ugly situation to enrich themselves will suffer. So, let the government know that we are suffering and they should come to our rescue,” she lamented.
Speaking on the sad development, the coordinator, Ogbaru Local Emergency Management Agency, Nnamdi Ezemie said the government has planned for the displaced persons to stay at the local government premises for the main time.