Four persons, 60-year-old-blind man, others drown as floods take toll on Delta communities

At least, four persons including a blind man and an 11-year-old boy have reportedly drowned as floods continue to ravage parts of Delta state.

The blind victim said to be in his sixties was trying to escape from the rampaging flood which had already submerged his house in power line area of Asaba, with the aid of a wooden boat which capsized in the flood water.

His two children who were with him during the incident survived the accident, according to Mr. Emma Ekube who spoke with our correspondent at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Ogbe-Afor Primary School in Asaba.

Ekube, who said he is the secretary of Powerline community, informed that the entire area has been submerged by flood water from River Niger, adding that most of the victims were reluctant to vacate the place and move to IDP camp so as to protect whatever was left of their property.

“A man lost his life there. The boat he was using to come out from his house to escape from the flood capsized. He was trying to come out from the water. His two children who were with him survived. The drowned man is blind and he should be in his sixties. It happened four days ago,” Ekube stated.

Ekube, a fisherman, disclosed that he was a victim of the 2012 flood but did not come to the IDP camp provided by the state government, noting that he has decided to move his family to the camp against the opinion of his fellow residents that their 2012 camp experience was nothing to write home about.

“I felt it is my duty to come out of that place. My family is safe, my five children and my wife they are here now. I have been telling my people in Powerline to come and witness from this present governor and not continue to rely on past experiences,” he noted.

Incident commander of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for Delta and Anambra states, Walson Ibarakumo Brandon, said from secondary sources, three persons including the 11-year old boy have already lost their lives as a result of the flood.

Brandon said the 11-year boy drowned at Okpai in Ndokwa East local government area while the two others he did not state their ages and sexes, drowned in Asaba, Oshimili South local government area.

He said six local government areas of Oshimili South, Ndokwa East Ughelli South, Patani, Burutu and Bomadi were heavily impacted by the flood in Delta state.

Meanwhile, the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who undertook an on-the-spot assessment of some of the impacted communities in Asaba, said government was on top of the situation to make life comfortable for the victims in the various IDP camps across the state.

On the reluctance of the most of the victims to relocate to IDP camps and other safer places, the governor told journalists shortly after also inspecting facilities at the Ogbe-Afor camp that machinery has been put in place to monitor the victims in wherever place they chose to stay.

While appealing to the victims to come to the camp, Okowa said the state government will have no other option than to forcefully evacuate them from the places if danger is lurking. But for now, we keep supplying them food items and constantly monitor them.

“This camp has been fumigated, you can see the place is being kept clean to make it habitable for the victims. We have insecticide treated mosquito nets. Mattresses and pillows are here. A clinic with medical personnel has been set up here,” he said.

According to the governor, most of the victims who have refused to move, have taken temporary refuge at the Julius Berger construction site where the second Niger Bridge is being constructed.

“The other place is the Julius Berger site which is a very high point, the water will never get there, they also want to over look their communities to ensure that nothing goes wrong. It is quite difficult to convince them to leave but I decided to allow it because that place is a high point, and Julius Berger staff are there working.

“What we need to do is to provide them with food items, insecticide treated nets and other necessary medical services. But we will continue to monitor them on a daily basis what goes on, and if there is a need to move them from there, we will. If we find out that the danger is there, we will no longer plead, we will move them out forcefully,” Okowa said.

Submerged communities visited by the governor include Oko-Amakom, Powerline, Oko-Anala and Oko-Ogbele all in Oshimili South.

“We could not access Oko-Anala because the entire road has been taken up by water, and I am told that many of the people have moved. I have just directed that they should go through the Onitsha end to find out if the people are safe.

“Those in Oko-Ogbele have also moved out of there because that place is completely submerged. I know that people have gone to Udu, and many places in Isoko South, Aviara, Uzere, Emede and some parts of Isoko North.

“I have just directed that they should send relief materials to the people in Tsekelewu because that place is already submerged but because they are used to water, they don’t want to leave, they have been able to improvise a high point where they are staying, what they need actually is food items to enable them survive through this period,” he said.

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