Anambra State Government, Military, Rescue Agencies collaborate on Flooding Emergency
By Ikenna Aniagboso
Gov Willie Obiano of Anambra State has met with the Army Emergency Response Team to initiate joint action against flooding in the State.
As a result of agreements reached at a meeting held yesterday at the Governor’s lodge, Awka, officials of Anambra state government, The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) The Nigerian Army Emergency Response Team, The Navy, The Nigerian Police, Red cross, Emergency Medical Teams and all other relevant agencies are moving into all flooded zones to survey, search, rescue and evacuate victims of flooding.
The mission will be carried out via air, land and water. Helicopters, speed boats, water ambulances, heavy duty trucks, medical supplies and equipment, food, water, relief materials and other rescue machineries have been provided for the mission.
The collaboration was at the instance of Gov Obiano who had appealed to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Major Gen Tukur Buratai, through the General officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Div. of the Nigerian Army, Enugu for technical, medical, and security support in the war against flooding.
The army reacted swiftly by putting together an emergency response team led by Brig Gen Mark Mamman who is the Commander of the Army Engineering Corp, Nigerian Army, 82 Div, Enugu.
Brig Gen Mamman and his team met Gov Willie Obiano and other government officials to discuss modalities for the operation kicking off today.
Speaking at the meeting, Gov Obiano expressed his delight at the quick response to his appeal for support and thanked the COAS and the GOC who had constituted the team to liase with the state government to identify possible areas of need.
The governor mentioned that the government had provided 28 holding centers fully equipped with medical and relief materials at various locations in the state to accomodate victims of the flood. He observed that there was urgent need to survey and search hinter areas as some victims are still stranded with no means of evacuating their flooded homes.
The government had mobilized and sent a rescue team to Enugwu Aguleri Ugbunado after receiving a distress call from the area. Gov Obiano regretted that some people were hesitant to leave their homes believing that the floods will soon recede. He noted that such emotions are understandable but urged the team to seek out such areas and encourage the people to vacate as adequate arrangements had been made for their comfort.
Leader of the army emergency response team, Brig. Gen. Mamman confirmed the army’s readiness to provide all the support required by the state government. He however observed that they needed the help of the government to identify flooded and flood prone areas, estimated number of people to be evacuated and the location of the holding centers to help them determine how to deploy troops, trucks, engineering and medical services, military rations and other relevant materials to complement efforts of the state government.
Responding, the deputy governor, Dr Nkem Okeke who heads the government emergency team, assured that the army would get all the information it requires. He also mentioned that the joint team would embark on a field trip on air, land and water to allow the army get first hand information and experience of the flooded areas and the terrain.
The Executive Secretary of SEMA, Chief Paul Odenigbo reported that 8 local government areas of the state are currently affected by the flood but with more devastating effects in the northern part of the state.
He noted that 9 out of the 28 Holding Centers had been activated with 3 in Ogbaru, and 6 accommodating displaced persons from Anambra east and Anambra west. He stated that another 6 in Ayamelum will be used to accommodate any spill over from the activated centers while the remaining centers in the southern part of the state will be activated as the need arises.
Secretary to the state government, Prof Solo Chukwulobe observed that life support equipment and facilities will be required for the operation, noting that some victims may be in urgent need of medical attention.
The Governor called on the team to provide water, rations and all critical needs for the immediate aid of victims.
He urged the team to work out operational modalities for the effective and immediate activation of the exercise. He noted that it was critical that victims were properly enlightened on the need to be evacuated from flooded areas.
Recalling the experiences from the 2012 flood, the Governor stressed the need for adequate security to be provided in all the holding centers. He urged the army and other security and supporting agencies to ensure that adequate logistics, security and hygiene were maintained in the holding centers.
Speaking at the end of the session, Commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Mr C Don Adinuba restated government’s commitment to ensuring that all victims of flood are evacuated and provided adequate succour. He observed that the governor had also asked the army team to advice the government, based on their extensive field experience, on areas that need to be improved on as the exercise continued.
He pledged the total commitment of the ministry to enlighten and update Ndi Anambra on developments arising from the joint mission.
The team will commence the survey, search, rescue and evacuate (SSRE) mission today, Wednesday, 19th Sept, 2018