The coastal areas of Asaba, the Delta state capital, have been overtaken by flood. Buildings in the area with two churches, including the headquarters of Pasture of Life and Deeper Life Bible Church in Abuta Lane area of the state capital have been submerged by the ravaging flood.
Our reporter, who visited the area on Thursday, reports that many of the residents packing their wares, household utensils, household appliances and others, even as many complaints of total neglect by the government of Nigeria and Delta state.
Over ten houses, including fenced storey buildings and stores have been submerged by the flood. The residents with their children and others lamented the pains they have been subjected to as many have nowhere to move and continue their lives.
One of the residents, Mrs. Jane Oloibi, who took our reporter to her residence that was submerged, cried that her belongings have been overtaken by the flood but she struggled to rescue some as the flood seemed to be having much toll on the people.
As she waded through the heavy water, she cried that though the state government had warned people dwelling in coastal areas to move uplands, she said it is impossible because they have no place to move as it is impossible to move to families whose places of abode have been occupied by their family members.
A member of the Deeper Life Bible Church that is almost overtaken by the flood, Abel Odoani, told our reporter that his relations have moved to his place even as he wept that his accommodation has been filled with his relations whom he cannot deny accommodation.
The pastor of the Deeper Life church, Pastor Peter Emefie, during a worship service, had told the members that by the time of service next week, the service may no longer hold as it will be impossible to access the church following the heavy water that has covered the area and is still moving very ferociously.
Members of Pasture of Life church were seen packing the church equipment out of the submerged building. Some of the members were seen loosening the air-conditioners attached to the wall of the church, even as some of the pastors refused to talk to our reporter when approached to make comments.
He rather told our reporter that he was busy and could not make comment as at when our reporter approached him. Inside the big church building was flooded.
Infant Jesus area of Asaba has also been submerged by the ravaging flood. Most of the residents in this area also have begun moving out their belongings, some to be with their relations in the upland area of the capital city.
The Delta state government through the ministry of information had earlier warned people living in the coastal areas to move uplands, noting that all areas close to the River Niger will be flooded.
The government said the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency has said that Delta, Anambra, Bayelsa, Kebbi, Niger and Kogi states will experience heavy flooding which magnitude is comparable to that of August 29, 2012.
It said the rivers downstream and dams in Nigeria, especially in Benue, Lokoja and Kebbi states are full and the Kainji and Jebba dams have started spilling water which will find its ways to the Atlantic Ocean through the River Niger and its tributaries.
It listed areas prone to flooding as Oshimili South, Oshimili North, Ndokwa East and West, Isoko North and South, Ughelli South, Burutu, Bomadi, Patani, Aniocha South, Sapele, Warri North and South and Udu local government areas.
Following this development, the Delta state government has begun moves to mitigate the effect of the flood.
Commissioner for Bureau for special duties, Ernest Ogwezzy, said his ministry through the state emergency management agency had identified possible safe grounds that could be used to set up internally displaced persons camps and had also sent a memo to the governor, requesting to stock its warehouse with perishable and non-perishable items to be used as relief items to the prospective victims.
He said: “As a result, the Delta state emergency management agency (SEMA) felt is expedient to inform all stakeholders in Delta state to ensure that they are on red alert and all hands on deck in preparing for the flooding that had already commenced as predicted so as to reduce the effect of the flooding to the barest minimum
“In addition to this, sensitization jingles to enlighten Deltans, particularly riverine communities of the state on the dangers of the impending flood and for them to evacuate their homes is currently on-going in the State” he told our reporter.
He stated that there had been a systematic daily rise in the water levels in Rivers Niger and Benue which he reckoned, could result in fresh flooding in riverine communities by the banks, adding that the magnitude of such flooding was likely to be compared with the one of 2012.
The local government areas that will be affected by the flood, according to him, included Oshimili South and North, Isoko South and North, Warri North, Warri South West, Udu, Sapele, Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West, Ughelli South, Bururu, Patani, Aniocha South and Bomadi.