Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has signed into law a Bill establishing the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) with a caution that the State was yet to get off the hook of flooding.
Dr Uduaghan said that it was in recognition of this fear that the state initiated the Bill to address flood issues and other natural disasters in future.
He steted that he never envisaged that last year’s flooding would be of such magnitude but assured Deltans that his administration has put measures on ground to avert any further occurrence.
The governor hinted that the Federal Government was planning to construct two buffer dams in the country as measures to check future flood disasters especially to accommodate floods from dams opened by neighbouring countries.
“As measures to check future flood disaster, the Federal Government plans to construct two dams to check flooding in the country especially the kind of flood that came from dams opened by neighbouring counties”.
Speaking further, he noted that a lot of measures have been put in place by the State and Federal government to ensure that the country would not suffer from such devastating effect in the future.
Presenting the Bill for the Governor’s accent, the speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochei said the House worked hard to pass the Bill because the flood disaster that hit the state took everyone by surprise.
Hon. Ochei said the Bill would establish the Agency and empower it to resolutely handle all disaster.
“The governor sent a Bill to establish the State Emergency Management Agency before the flood crisis. This is in recognition of the need to handle expediently and efficiently natural or unexpected crisis in the state. The agency will be empowered to carry out such task effectively”.
Meanwhile, the Technical Committee on Flood Impact Assessment set up by the Delta State Government, has said that about N10billion was required for the reconstruction of infrastructures destroyed by flood as well as the resettlement of victims of the flood that devastated the state last year.
At a public presentation of its report yesterday in Asaba, Prof Chris Orubu who presented the report on behalf of the Technical Committee, disclosed that 231 communities in 12 local government areas of the state were adversely affected.
Besides, he said that 220 primary schools and 84 secondary schools were damaged, 357 fish farms destroyed, while 753 market stores were affected.
Prof Orubu who described the flood as the worst in the last 50 years said the cost of road maintenance was not accommodated in the report.
He however recommended immediate fumigation and construction of deep well water in the villages affected by the flood.
Calling for the rehabilitation of failed portions of roads in the rural areas, Prof Orubu recommended the supply of farm implements and machines to farmers.
The university don said the Committee recommended for improved weather forecasting system to ensure accuracy in predictions as well as cross country management of rivers to check flooding.
Orubu who said the Committee’s report was divided into short and long term stated that the Committee was optimistic that when all natural water channels were opened up, flooding in the state would be minimized.
The chairman of the Technical Committee and Vice Chancellor, Delta State University, Abraka (DELSU) who in his remarks before the presentation of the report said more mud houses were destroyed during the flood disaster and requested the state government to establish a database that would vividly capture the depth of the flood disaster.
He regretted that while the committee was preparing its report, some unscrupulous elements made attempt to influence the committee’s report negatively.
He however said members of the committee resisted the fifth columnist stoutly and came up with an objective report which he said even though was technical in nature but was simplified for the understanding of all those who would come across the report.
Receiving the report the state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan appealed to the Federal government, corporate organizations and individuals to assist the state government to enable it contend with the enormous problems the flood disaster heaped on the state.
Uduaghan disclosed that it would be difficult for the state government to raise 10 billion naira for the reconstruction of infrastructures and resettlement of flood victims, and promised to send the report to the Alhaji Aliko Dangote-led national committee on flood disaster as well as the National Emergency Management Agency for study.
He however assured that his administration would work in collaboration with the State House of Assembly to raise more funds to deal with the situation.
“This problem is enormous for the state government to shoulder alone because it is not going to be easy for the state government to raise 10 billion naira for the reconstruction of infrastructures. The Federal government gave us 500 million naira grant but we have not touched the money as we have been spending funds from our coffers”.
Explaining that the state government had put measures in place to check flood occurrence, Dr Uduaghan said ‘’We are going to remove all structures blocking all water ways and any building permit on natural water ways will be revoked and the building pulled down with government sanctioning the officer responsible”.
Membership of the Prof Arubayi led-Committee was drawn entirely from the departments at the Sate owned DELSU.