THE Rivers State government has advised local government Chairmen and respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to prepare for emergency situations in flood-prone communities across the state.
This follows the 2021 Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) warnings of adverse weather predictions across the country and in particular Rivers State.
At a closed-door meeting with the affected council chairmen, NEMA officials, and the relevant MDAs in Port Harcourt,
According to a statement by Juliana Masi, Press Officer, Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, represented the Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State at the meeting.
According to the statement, the SSG stressed that the parley was necessary in order to prepare for emergencies that may arise as a result of flood situations in the state, particularly considering the precarious position of Rivers State in the predictions of NiMET and its geological position at the bank of the Atlantic Ocean.
Danagogo 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.
“I believe that by the time you synergize 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,” he said.
The SSG earlier commiserated with the local government Chairmen over the sudden demise of one of them, Hon. David Irimagha, the 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 will affect the local governments adversely.
He noted that by the second week of November, the rains will 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, Mr Emeka Onowu, acknowledged that 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.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Judiciary Complex and the headquarters of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Port Harcourt, were on Tuesday flooded following several hours of heavy rains in the state capital.
Those living in D/Line, Rumueme, Rumuomasi, and Oroworokwo communities as well as residents of Elekahia and Rumuibekwe were also affected by the flood just like those living on the bank of Ntawogba and Nwaja Creeks who were also rendered homeless as flood took over their homes.
The Port Harcourt Mall (SPAR) as well as the main entrances into Government House, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the State Secretariat Complex was also affected.
Major roads in the Old Port Harcourt Township as well as the Port Harcourt metropolis, comprising of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas, were not spared as motorists and commuters were stranded due to the flood.
Some of the affected roads included Azikiwe Road, Sani Abacha Road, Ikwerre Road, Bank Road, Peter Odili Road and Olu Obasanjo Road.