Residents of flood prone areas of Rivers have been thrown into panic following prediction and warning by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, that 18 local governments areas of the state will suffer from flooding as the raining season progresses this year.
The Zonal Director of NEMA, Walson Brandon, told Journalists that Nigeria Hydrological Services and Nigeria Meteteorological Agency, Ni-met had forecasted that 11 local government area in Rivers state will suffer severe flooding while seven of others will suffer mild flooding during the raining season.
He therefore urgeD residents to prepare ahead of time. Brandon said those who live in and around the low level areas should begin to gather their valuables to safeguard them, and also identify the designated Internally Displaced Peoples camp for easy of movement.
According to him, NEMA is making adequate arrangement to assist people flood disaster prone areas.
He said the forecast shows that flooding this year is expected to supersede that of last year. He listed Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, (2) Oyigbo, (3) Tai. (4) Abua/Odual. (5) Degema, (6) Akuku-Toru, (7) Port Harcourt City, (8) Obio-Akpor (9) Gokana, (10) Ahoada-West (11) Ahaoda East (12) Andoni (13) Asari-Toru (14) Bonny. (15) Ogu-Bolo (16) Okrika, (17) Opobo-Nkoro, (18) Etche as the local government that will suffer flooding.
Ahoada West in Rivers submerged in 2015 where over 60 families were affected.
Walson Brandon also advised the Rivers State Government to set up emergency management procedures to mitigate the impeding flooding as local and state government are the first respondents in Emergency cases.
He said, ‘’emergencies are local for example when there’s a plane crash, it happens at a place, so we expect the local residents around that area to assist in basic First Aid and also respond adequately. Since disasters happen at a particular place, we expect the people to take action concerning their environment.
“Federal Government is a big entity that covers the 36 states and capital, in issues of emergency the first respondent is Local government, by extension the state as second before Federal government, so there’s a need for the state government to have robust state emergency team to mitigate the coming flooding. Our procedures are, if there’s an emergency, we move to the area and assess the situation and then make recommendation to our headquarters for action, pending the response from the Headquarters we assist victims with basic first aid and emergency services. so the state is expected to act first.”
It would recalled that in Rivers State people living the local government areas have had their homes, farmlands and properties submerged in flood water.