By Leonard Okachie
Umuahia – Mr Sunday Jackson, the Acting Executive Secretary, Abia State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said on Thursday that the state recorded more flood cases in 2019 than previous years.
Jackson disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia.
He said that the phenomenon wreaked more havoc in the state in 2019 than the past four years put together.
According to him, 13 deaths — 10 children and three adults — have been recorded this year with over 70 communities comprising over 70,000 persons, including women and children, displaced from their homes.
He gave the list of the affected communities to include Umuechem, Umunneato, Ohazu, Akoli and Ngwaoma, among others.
Jackson further gave a statistics of the devastation in the past few years, saying that the state recorded four deaths in 2017, while 65 communities in 14 out of the 17 local government areas were affected.
He said that in 2016, the state recorded three deaths, while 45 communities were affected.
Jackson also said that in 2012, six persons were reported dead, while 42,045 persons were displaced from their homes.
He said that 1,391 hectares of farmland in 14 out of the 17 local government areas (LGAs) of the state were also destroyed by the disaster in 2012.
The SEMA boss expresssed satisfaction with the efforts so far made by the state government to cushion the effects of the disaster in the state.
He expressed regret that the enormity of the problem was beyond the state.
“2018 has not been good for Abia,” he said, adding that the state had suffered a lot of casualties from flood, fire and communal clashes.
He said that at least 53 deaths were recorded between March and May during a communal clash involving Isu clan in Arochukwu LGA and its neighbouring community in Ituma LGA of Cross River.
“Ike Isu and Aba Isu communities were virtually wiped out. As we speak, the survivors have yet to go back to their villages.
“They have been completely displaced. Their houses and schools were razed down.
“Even, the community were not free to bury their beloved ones killed during the clash, which is a more pathetic side of the story.
“Right now, they are taking refuge in Obieze and other neighbouring communities in Arochukwu town.
Jackson said that SEMA and the National Emergency Management Agency had visited the communities but that the Federal Government’s intervention was still being awaited.
“Regrettably, while the state was still nursing the wound inflicted by the clash, it got another rude shock from the recent pipeline explosion in two Osisioma communities.
“Currently, we have over 170 persons reported dead from the explosion.
“We have few survivors who are still receiving medical treatment in different hospitals, including traditional herbal homes.”
He urged the NNPC management to regularly maintain their pipelines to avert a recurrence in future.
He further appealed to the Federal Government to assist the state in mitigating the impact of the disasters, saying that “the magnitude is beyond the state.” (NAN)