Tony Okafor, Awka
Residents of Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State on Thursday recounted their losses during the flood, stating that the community lost scores of lives and about 100 social amenities to the disaster.
The community stated this when Officials of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) visited the area during a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Atani, headquarters of the LGA.
Recalled that Ogbaru was the local government where scores of people died when their boat capsized as they were being evacuated from their submerged homes.
Officials of UNICEF, who visited the area on Thursday on a fact- finding for the purpose of assisting the flood victims, were taken aback at the magnitude of the destruction in all the communities.
The UNICEF/ stakeholders meeting was organised for three local government areas affected by the flood, made up of Ihiala, Ekwusigo and Ogbaru LGAs
The local government transition committee chairman of Ogbaru, Mr Paschal Aniegbuna told the UNICEF officials that his area was the worst hit among the seven local government areas of Anambra State that were affected by the flood.
He said, “Usually we know the flood must come every year, but what happened in 2022 was something we did not imagine. The only access road that connects all the communities has been washed away.
“The local government headquarters was the holding place for the internally displaced people, but at a time, the area was no longer safe as all the buildings were flooded and we had to relocate them to the upland. Vehicles no longer ply beyond Atani.
“The whole fence and gates of the local government were pulled down by the flood, while some of the offices are yet to be cleaned up.”
Our correspondent observed that the water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in both the primary and secondary schools, as well as in other public places, were washed away by the flood.
Most sections of the major road that passed through the local government, the Onitsha – Atani- Ogwuikpele federal road, were washed away by the flood such that communities beyond the local government headquarters at Atani could no longer drive to their homes.
It was, however, observed that farming season had begun in earnest in some parts of the community, with planting of yams and cassava taking place to ensure that they mature before the next flood comes.
It was also observed that because of the collapse of the road, residents of many communities in the area had to resort to using the engine boat to transport themselves to Onitsha and other riverine towns in the area.
The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, coordinator in the local government, Linda Onyeke gave a detailed report of the destruction, which showed that all health, water and sanitation facilities were destroyed.
She said that unless there was immediate assistance to the affected communities, there might be outbreak of deseases in the area as post-flood consequences.