Rep Ogene decries govt’s lack of preparedness as flood ravages Ogbaru again

Flood in Ogbaru community

Member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Anambra state, Afam Victor Ogene, has decried government’s dismal preparedness as devastating flood ravages Ogbaru, submerging communities, destroying several farms and washing away roads.

Hon. Ogene, Chairman, House Committee on Renewable Energy, in a statement he issued in Abuja, on Thursday, August 17, 2023, described the perennial flood disaster in Ogbaru Federal Constituency and government’s lacklustre approach to addressing the impact, as troubling and harrowing.

He lamented that in spite of the seasonal climate predictions and annual flood outlook released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), which indicated that there would be massive floods around the nation this year, governments at federal and subnational levels are often caught napping, with dismal preparedness, leaving the hapless flood victims groaning in agony over unfortunate losses.

According to him, “It is disturbing that the only visible remedial pronouncement by relevant government agencies, so far for the expected 2023 incident, is the warning that residents of flood-prone areas should move to uplands, with no physical plan, structure or logistics to make this pronouncement realistic, in order to avert the kind of horrendous rate of fatalities and destruction of property and economic activities in the projected 28 flood-prone states across the nation.”

road linking Ogbaru washed off by flood

He disclosed that the recurrent flooding of Ogbaru has severely damaged the Onitsha-Atani-Ossomala-Ogwuikpele-Ndoni Road, which is the only road that connects the 15 communities in Ogbaru Local Government Area/Federal Constituency of Anambra state to the rest of the state; and a shorter route to Rivers state from Anambra; and also destroyed the economy of the area in multi dimensional ways, even when Ogbaru has not recovered from the devastating impact of the 2022 flooding season.

Ogene, who is also the Labour Party caucus leader in the House, said further, “The people in Ogbaru Local Government Area/Federal Constituency, are predominantly farmers who currently experience grave difficulties in transporting their produce to the market, or for other social activities, thereby hurting the economy and social lives of the people, and also impacting adversely on their usual contribution to the nation’s food security, as a result of the deplorable condition of the road, damaged by flooding.

“For instance, one of the business concerns impacted by the current flood incident is a multi-billion-naira automated farm, Matucci Farms Limited located at Agbobo Umuoga Ossomala community, belonging to
Sir (Dr) Patrick Sule Ugboma, who disclosed that the farm suffered a huge setback in it’s resuscitation efforts. In 2012, the farm lost about 25,000 poultry birds to flood in the area, while properties worth several millions of naira were also destroyed.

“This particular investment, like many others, has now been forced to shut down, leading to loss of over 400 jobs of the employees, who are mostly youths from the state. The flood has also sadly destroyed schools, houses and property, leaving on its trail, sorrow and despondency.”

Hon. Ogene called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs), to urgently come to the rescue of flood victims in Ogbaru, by providing
required facilities and materials that would ensure an easy and seamless management of impact of the severe flooding in the local government, in order to avert the high rate of fatalities and adverse level of human conditions witnessed last year in the area.