NEMA advocates dredging of rivers, land reclamation as flood ravages Rivers communities

Lorine Emenike

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has appealed to people living in communities ravaged by flooding in Rivers state not lose hope as the agency is working to ensure that relief materials are provided by the Federal Government to cushion their sufferings.

NEMA south-south director, Walson Ibarakumo Brandon who stated this in an interview noted that the agency has collated data of worst-hit communities of Ahoada West, Ahoada East and Onelga, and is also making plans to visit Abua/Obua.

He added that the agency is working together with the Rivers State Ministry of Special Duties to bring aids to the people of the area.

He told our reporter that the level of flood disaster in some parts of the state has gone beyond what was predicted by the Nigeria Metrology Agency.

“We have already visited Ahoada West, Jankrama (1,2,3 and 4), Akinima, Mbiama, Ndoni axis, and parts of Ahoada East and these areas that I have mentioned, they have all been overtaken by the flood.

“As we speak, the level of the water is still increasing so if we are working with the state government, camps are already mapped out.

“When we visit them sometimes, we experience a very volatile environment, people are very angry, the first thing we do is to appeal to them that no matter the situation, we have to work together.

“Like some of these communities, there is even no means of getting to those areas even if you have the relief packages. So we are thinking of meeting with the Air Force, so they should not feel hopeless because we are working around the clock”

Walson Ibarakumo Brandon however said dredging to deepen the sea level in most parts of the state and land reclamation are some of the long-term measures that could curtail the effect of flooding in the state.

“Based on climate change issues, the sea level is rising and you know some communities are only eight meters above sea level, these communities are lying so low. So when this water comes and they are situated along the riverbank, you can imagine what is going to happen.

“So right now we are not talking about long term measures, is just how do we take care of this flood and the people affected. But the long term measures you and I know, is to deepen the rivers so that the rivers can swallow much of this water that is coming.

“Then land reclamation, whereby you now deliberately elevate these portions of the land to an appreciable level so that the deepened river and the land reclamation reduces the impacts”.