Anambra floods: Red Cross begins evacuations

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Following flooding in the riverine communities of Anambra state, the Nigerian Red Cross has began the evacuation of flood victims from the areas to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), camps in the state.

Already eight local governments, Anambra East, Awka North, Ayamelum, Ekwusigo, Ogbaru, Onitsha North, Onitsha South and Ihiala have been affected in Anambra State by this year’s flood.

The 28 IDP camps in the state is said to have been equipped with the necessary facilities, including tents, water, mattresses, blankets and toilet facilities, and they were located in the affected local governments Anambra East having six camps, Awka North (three), Ayamelum (six), Ekwusigo (two), Ogbaru (three), Onitsha North (four), Onitsha South (two) and Ihiala (two).

It could be recalled that the Association of Anambra State Town Unions (ASATU) had last week raised alarm over the covering of the waterways by water hyacinth and called for its clearing to facilitate the evacuation of the flood victims.

Red Cross it was gathered yesterday had to come into the exercise following the reluctance of most of the victims to vacate their flooded homes for the fear of the unknown.

Speaking in Awka yesterday during a capacity building workshop for volunteers of the organization involved in the evacuation process, Vice chairman of the Anambra State chapter of the Nigerian Red Cross, Professor Peter Katchy said that the IDP camps had been fully prepared and were ready to receive the flood victims.

He said: “As part of the emergency management and risk reduction strategies against the 2016 riverine flooding, Red Cross and other relevant agencies have provided the basic infrastructure and facilities such as roads, communication and systems, aimed at making it easier for more efficient search-and-rescue responses.

“We have also carried out vigorous awareness campaigns and public education on risk treatment and reduction strategies and inaugurated integrated community-based disaster risk reduction programmes such as emergency management committees, extension services on modern farming techniques and deployed hydrographic information to determine peak flow periods and characteristics to be able to reliably predict flood periods.”

Katchy noted that though some of the flood victims were reluctant to leave their flooded homes, “the volunteers had been trained to counsel them by reminding them that it would be in their best interest to relocate until the flood receded. As the first respondent to any emergency, we (Red Cross) are prepared to handle the situation; we only appeal to people in the affected communities to adhere to the advice of the volunteers working in their areas.”

The State Red Cross boss, who admitted that the ongoing recession in the country was affecting the evacuation process, however observed that Red Cross usually excelled more during crisis situations.

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