Residents of Ebonyi State have called on the state government to widen up water channels in some parts of Abakaliki to forestall a recurrence of the flood disaster that ravaged the capital city last year. They made the call following warning by the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency that thirty five states of the federation were likely to experience flooding this rainy season.
Though Ebonyi is not among states on the endangered list released by the Agency, the ugly experience of 2016 is already making residents of the state nervous. The flood disaster witnessed last year which came from Azuiyioku, Iyiudene and Ebia Rivers affected over five hundred households.
One of the victims, Mr Valentine Nwosu explained that he had taken some precautionary measures to avoid being caught unaware by flooding. Another resident of the state, Miss Chiamaka Amaeze described last year’s incident as challenging and called on the government to build embankments in low level areas along the water channels.
Governor David Umahi had while inspecting the devastating effects of the flood last year attributed the incident to the construction of structures on water ways and promised to take necessary steps to widen up the river banks. Investigations however reveal that one year down the line, all the structures supposedly built along the river banks were still standing although some had been marked for removal by the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP.
The then Commissioner for Environment, Chief Ogodo Alinome explained that the structures were yet to be pulled down because the process of awarding the contract had not been concluded. The Special Assistant to the Governor on Environment, Mr Philip Eworo explained that the State government had plans to open up drainages and had started interfacing with those living in flood prone areas on possible relocation. Mr Eworo noted that the state government was ready to respond to any flood incident and enjoined residents of the state not to panic.