By George Odok
Calabar – The Federal Government said on Saturday that it would work closely with the Cross River Government to evolve ways of managing man-made and natural disasters in the state.
Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the team leader and Senior Technical Adviser on Disaster Risk Management, Office of the Vice-President, made this known in Calabar while speaking with journalists after inspecting some disaster sites across the state.
Oke-Osanyintolu explained that the team was on assessment tour of flood sites and disaster-prone areas in the state with a view to complementing the state government’s efforts at ameliorating the suffering of the victims.
According to him, the collaboration has become necessary in view of the realisation by the state government that it cannot handle disaster management alone.
“We are in the state to do a holistic assessment, resource mappings and risk analysis and also look at the overview of preparedness of Cross River to manage any form of disaster.
“We are trying to mitigate the impact of both man-made and natural disasters on the people of Cross River.
“We want to help and reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity often associated with disasters.
“We are satisfied with our holistic assessment because the Cross River Government and other stakeholders are doing their best,’’ he said.
The adviser gave an assurance that they will ensure that Cross River is well-prepared to effectively and efficiently respond to any form of emergency disaster.
Speaking, Dr Fidelis Anukwa, the State Project Coordinator of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), said that flooding and erosion had become critical issues in the state.
Anukwa, who spoke at the Itigidi erosion site in Abi local government, said that the erosion had affected the occupation of residents in the area which he said was mainly farming and fishing.
“The problem of residents in this area is beyond their handling capacity and that is why we are partnering with the federal government to see how much support we can get to ameliorate their plight,” he said.
Mr John Inaku, Director General, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, said that incessant flooding in parts of the state had compelled many residents to relocate from their ancestral homes.
Inaku, who called on the Federal Government for assistance, said that flooding had caused poverty and hunger among residents.
NAN reports that the team visited erosion sites in Calabar Municipality, Abi and Ikom local government areas, flooding sites in Obubra and Biase local government areas and the Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Bakassi and other places. (NAN)
By George Odok